Israel has launched a targeted military operation against Hamas in Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa. The hospital, which is currently out of fuel and inoperational, has been facing deteriorating conditions for both patients and staff due to intense fighting. Israeli tanks have been seen inside the hospital complex, although it remains unclear how many troops have entered the hospital buildings. Doctors and journalists have reported desperate efforts to save premature babies and limited procedures taking place by candlelight.
Israel has accused Hamas of using the hospital as a military base, endangering its protected status under international law. However, both Hamas and hospital officials have denied these claims. Prior to the operation, the hospital staff received a 30-minute warning, but hundreds of patients and staff are still inside, seeking refuge from the ongoing offensive.
Hamas has blamed both Israel and the United States for the Israeli army’s raid on the hospital, accusing the US of supporting Israel’s false narrative. The US has claimed that Hamas is operating a command center and storing weapons in Al-Shifa, with the Pentagon releasing newly declassified intelligence to support these claims. The Palestinian Health Minister has condemned the raid as a crime against humanity, warning of catastrophic consequences for patients and medical staff.
Since Israel declared war on Hamas and placed a siege on Gaza, the Israeli response has resulted in the deaths of over 11,000 Palestinians, including thousands of women and children. International pressure on Israel has grown due to the dire situation in fuel-starved hospitals and severe shortages of food and water. The United Nations Secretary-General has called for a ceasefire, emphasizing the need for humanity.
Conditions inside Al-Shifa hospital have been described as catastrophic, with reports of no water, food, or medical supplies. People inside the hospital are starving, and there have been issues with burying the dead due to the inability to leave the premises. Fifteen patients, including six newborns, have died recently due to power outages and medical supply shortages. Premature babies have been wrapped in foil in an attempt to keep them alive after oxygen supplies ran out. The World Health Organization has recorded over 100 attacks on health facilities in Gaza, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
Other protected sites, such as schools and civilian shelters, have also been damaged or destroyed during the Israeli airstrikes. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugee has reported the death of over 100 UN staff in Gaza since the conflict began, making it the highest number of UN staff casualties in history.