Israeli forces continue to comb Gaza’s largest hospital, expand raids

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Israeli forces continued on Thursday to comb Gaza's largest hospital, al-Shifa, for the second consecutive day, expanding their searches for hostages and militant activity to other hospitals in the area, while all communications collapsed across the besieged enclave due to a lack of fuel, reported Xinhua.

During the searches in al-Shifa Hospital, "an underground tunnel shaft has been found beneath the hospital," Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a press briefing on Thursday night. He said a vehicle with "many ammunition" was also found below the medical center.

Beneath the Rantisi Hospital, "a complex web of tunnels was found. This is a combat area, where our forces are still fighting (with militants,)" said Hagari, adding that "many weapons" were also found at the al-Quds Hospital. He presented photos showing automatic weapons, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

Earlier, the army announced that the remains of Yehudit Weiss, an Israeli woman who was abducted by Hamas militants on Oct. 7, were extracted by IDF troops from "a structure adjacent to the al-Shifa Hospital." The body was transferred to Israeli territory.

It was the second time that Israeli forces raided al-Shifa Hospital. The army released on Wednesday photos of some automatic weapons, RPGs and hand grenades that they said were found in the building but have not provided evidence for a central Hamas military headquarters, which Israel repeatedly claims is concealed below the medical compound.

Al-Shifa's Director Muhammad Abu Salamiya told Al Jazeera TV news that snipers surrounding the hospital had prevented medical staff from moving between the buildings. Troops stormed the hospital's departments, where there were more than 650 inpatients, 500 medical personnel, and 5,000 displaced people seeking shelter. At least four patients who urgently needed dialysis were in "a critical condition" due to the damage to medical services.

Gaza was in desperate need of medical supply as Israel cut off the enclave from electricity, water, food and fuel.

Gaza's main telecom provider Paltel announced on social media platform X a total blackout, including all internet and telephone services, after "all energy sources sustaining the network have been depleted, and fuel was not allowed in."

Also on Thursday, Hamas's armed wing al-Qassam brigades claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting attack in the morning at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the southern West Bank.

Three gunmen opened fire at Israeli security forces, killing an armed police officer and wounding five others, before being shot dead by other forces, Israeli police said.

The police found in their vehicle two automatic rifles, two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, 10 magazines, and two axes.

The IDF said Israeli warplanes on Thursday struck the residence of Hamas politburo head Ismail Haniyeh that was allegedly used as "terrorist infrastructure" and often served as a meeting place for Hamas' senior leaders.

The Israeli forces also took over the Al-Shati refugee camp and Gaza's harbor, the Israeli army said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said in a press statement Thursday it was unable to respond to hundreds of calls to help and evacuate the wounded or those trapped under the rubble, while people fleeing from the northern strip are reporting the presence of dead bodies in the streets.

The PRCS also said that the Israeli army imposed a siege on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital using tanks and military vehicles, preventing ambulance teams from reaching the wounded.

According to the Red Crescent, the hospital is the only one still operating in Gaza City and its northern areas.

By Thursday, day 41 of the Israel-Hamas conflict, more than 11,500 people have been killed by Israel's relentless attacks in Gaza, including 4,710 children and 3,003 women, while more than 29,000 others were injured, according to figures by the Gaza-based Media Office. In Israel, about 1,200 have been killed, mostly in the initial attack by Hamas militants on Oct. 7, which triggered the war.

  •  Israel
  •  Attacks
  •  Gaza


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