Israeli forces remain in Al-Shifa hospital, the largest hospital complex on the Gaza Strip, 18 hours after an initial operation that moved into the hospital.
Israeli military released a statement that troops “encountered explosives and terrorist squads” when they fought to enter the hospital, The Washington Post reported.
Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital complex
What we know: The hospital is currently housing patients, medical personnel and some civilians taking shelter, The Guardian reported. Israel has said there is a Hamas military operation headquarters being shielded by the hospital and has refrained from crossing the threshold until now since its offensive surrounded the complex earlier this week.
- U.S. intelligence spokesperson John Kirby said that America confirmed “Israel’s allegation that Hamas has been operating out of hospitals” — an act that “Kirby said amounted to a war crime,” The New York Times reported.
The latest: Israel Defense Forces reported it is executing a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the hospital, according to CBS News.
- Reuters reported that Dr. Munir al-Bursch, director-general of the Gaza health ministry, said “Israeli forces had raided the western side of the medical complex.”
- “There are big explosions and dust entered the areas where we are. We believe an explosion occurred inside the hospital,” Bursch told Al Jazeera television, per Reuters.
Background: On Oct. 7, militant group Hamas attacked Israel on the ground, killing around 1,200 Israelis — a majority of whom were civilians. It also took more than 200 people hostage, including foreign nationals.
Israel responded with major attacks on Gaza, firing multiple air strikes and launching a ground offensive that has entered the heart of Palestine, The Associated Press reported. The Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in the attacks. (Palestine’s Hamas-run ministry does not separate civilian and combat deaths.)
What Israel, Palestine said about the hospital operation
Hamas released a statement saying it believes Israel’s Defense Forces and President Joe Biden are “fully responsible” for the hospital raid.
- It also stated that the White House allowed Israel “a green light” after a U.S. spokesperson confirmed that “American intelligence agencies supported Israel’s conclusion that Hamas uses hospitals for military purposes,” The New York Times reported.
Israel said the raid is based on “operational need,” according to Axios.
- “Ahead of the operation, we made an effort to evacuate the hospital from its patients and even opened a specific safe passage from the hospital. We notified the hospital’s management ahead of the entry into the compound,” Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, per Axios.
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby denied that the U.S. signed off on the Israeli operation at the hospital, per ABC News.
“These are Israeli military operations that they plan and they execute on, you know, in accordance with their own established procedures, that the United States is not, was not, involved in,” Kirby said, per ABC News.
U.N. truck carrying fuel entered Gaza for the first time since war started
A truck carrying fuel entered Gaza from Egypt Wednesday morning — marking the first time fuel was allowed to enter the region since Oct. 7, CNN reported.
“This is only 9% of what we need daily to sustain lifesaving activities,” Thomas White, the director of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.