Hamas says 22 killed as Gaza hospitals struck by Israeli air strikes

  • Officials say missiles were fired into the courtyard of Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital 
  • Israeli strikes were also blamed for damaging the Indonesian Hospital  

Israeli air strikes hit three Gazan hospitals and a school yesterday, killing at least 22 people, according to Palestinian officials.

Tanks ringed the hospitals as the battle against Hamas moved to the heart of its stronghold in Gaza City.

Officials in the Hamas-run government said missiles were fired into the courtyard of Gaza’s biggest hospital, the Al-Shifa, in the early hours, with further attacks later.

Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Selmeyah said that ‘Israeli tanks fired on Al-Shifa hospital’, while the Israeli military did not offer an immediate comment.

Israeli strikes were also blamed for damaging the Indonesian Hospital and reportedly setting fire to the Nasser Rantissi paediatric cancer hospital. There were reports of the water and power being cut off.

The hospitals are in northern Gaza, where Israel says the Hamas militants who attacked it last month are concentrated, and are full of displaced people as well as patients and doctors.

Israel says Hamas is using them as human shields and has major command centres beneath some of the buildings.

Officials in the Hamas-run government said missiles were fired into the courtyard of Gaza's biggest hospital, the Al-Shifa, in the early hours, with further attacks later

Palestinian girl Orheen Al-Dayah, who was injured on her forehead in an Israeli strike amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel is assisted after she had her wounds stitched without anaesthesia, at Al Shifa hospital

Israeli tanks, which have been advancing through northern Gaza for almost two weeks, had last night taken up positions around the Nasser Rantissi, Children’s and Eye hospitals as well as the Al-Quds hospital, medical staff said.

Military experts believe the Israeli tank forces in Gaza are now the largest since the six-day war of 1967 when Israel took the territory from Egypt.

‘Israel is now launching a war on Gaza City hospitals,’ said Mr Selmeyah.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said that Israel had bombed Al-Shifa hospital buildings five times. ‘One Palestinian was killed and several were wounded in the early morning attack,’ he said by phone.

Graphic videos circulating on social media yesterday appeared to show scenes of panic and people covered in blood.

Mr Selmeyah said later that at least 20 people were killed in Israeli strikes on Al-Buraq school in Gaza City, where residents whose homes had been destroyed had been seeking shelter.

The Palestinian Red Cross said that Israeli snipers were shooting at Al-Quds hospital and there were violent clashes, with one person killed and 28 wounded, most of them children.

‘Fierce clashes now and occupation [Israeli] snipers shooting at Al-Quds hospital, casualties among the displaced Palestinians sheltering at the facility,’ the medical organisation said.

The Mail's Nick Craven who joined IDF soldiers who found at least 17 subterranean fortifications

Israel did not confirm or deny the reports. It says it does not aim its attacks at civilians and tries to protect them, but that Hamas militants have hidden command centres and tunnels beneath Al-Shifa and other hospitals.

A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said: ‘While the world sees neighbourhoods with schools, hospitals, scout groups, children’s playgrounds and mosques, Hamas sees an opportunity to exploit.’

Hamas denies the claim.

A video of the Al-Shifa’s courtyard recorded the sound of incoming fire waking people in makeshift shelters, followed by shouts for an ambulance. In the blood-splattered courtyard, one man writhed screaming on the ground, his leg apparently severed. The IDF has said that it ‘cannot discuss potential locations relating to our operations’ because it could ‘compromise the troops’.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza in retaliation after Hamas fighters poured across the border on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages. Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with an aerial bombing and ground campaign that the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

Last night there were unconfirmed reports of a hostage swap deal between Israel and Hamas, but the Israeli government refused to comment. Saudi newspaper Al-Arabiya claimed that a deal had been brokered to release female Palestinian prisoners and children held in Israeli jails in return for 100 women and children out of the 240 or so hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

The claim, which drew a ‘no comment’ from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, sparked tentative hope for the return of some of the hostages seized by Hamas terrorists from Israel on October 7.

Israelis were shocked to see two of the hostages, a 77-year-old woman and a boy of 13, paraded in front of video cameras on Thursday by their captors, Islamic Jihad, terrorist allies of Hamas.

Even more shocking were contrasting photos published of the young boy, Yagel Yaacov, showing his dramatic deterioration in the past month, presumably not having seen daylight as it is believed the hostages are being held in the ‘Gaza Metro’, the Hamas tunnel system said to stretch for 300 miles under Gaza.

In the earlier photograph the boy is smiling and looks lively, but as a captive his pale skin and the dark rings under his eyes tell a very different story.


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