Major Escalation In Violence As Israeli Troops Enter Al-Shifa Hospital
Israeli troops have initiated a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of Dar al-Shifa hospital, the biggest in the Gaza Strip.
The decision to send forces into the medical complex marks an escalation of Israel’s offensive in Gaza and will fuel calls for a ceasefire that Israel has so far resisted. The military operation will exacerbate growing outrage around the world at the civilian toll of the offensive.
Hamas killed 1,200 people in Israel last month. In retaliatory strikes, Israel has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, according to the group-run health ministry in Gaza.
Hamas Holds Biden “Wholly Responsible”
Al-Shifa has become a strategic objective for Israel, which claims Hamas has built its headquarters in bunkers and tunnels under the facility.
On Tuesday, the US said its own intelligence supported Israel’s conclusions that Hamas used the hospital as a command centre and used tunnels beneath to conceal military operations and possibly hold some of the hostages seized during the surprise October 7 attack on Israel.
Hamas, which has repeatedly rejected such claims, on Wednesday said Joe Biden was “wholly responsible” for the violence, accusing his administration of giving the “green light” to Israel.
Horrific Conditions Inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa
Fighting has raged around the medical complex for several days, trapping around 1,200 patients and staff, besides approximately 1,500 internally displaced people.
The fate of al-Shifa has become a focus of international alarm. Witnesses have described conditions as horrific, with medical procedures taking place without anesthetic, stench of decomposing corpses filling the air, and families with limited supplies living in corridors.
The Israel Defence Forces said the troops entering al-Shifa include medical teams and arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training, “with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians.”