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Gaza: Israel begins storming of Shifa hospital amid hostage negotiations
Israeli forces on Wednesday said they were carrying out an operation in Gaza's largest hospital targeting what it calls a "Hamas command centre", allegedly located below thousands of ailing patients and sheltering civilians.
It has presented no evidence of these claims and they have been denied by Gaza authorities and independent witnesses.
The raid comes after the hospital complex was continuously bombarded for over four hours.
Around 650 patients and 5000-7000 sheltering civilians are trapped in the hospital.
Meanwhile, the director of the hospital said on Tuesday that 179 people, including babies and patients who died in the intensive care unit, had been buried in a "mass grave" at the hospital complex.
Israeli Army tanks were massed near the gates of Gaza's main hospital where civilians were trapped in dire conditions on Tuesday. US President Joe Biden called on Israel to protect the complex.
"We were forced to bury them in a mass grave," said Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiyah, adding that seven babies and 29 intensive care patients were among those buried after the hospital's fuel supplies ran out.
Reports say that premature babies dying due to the lack of electricity and patients facing gunfire, a surgeon working for Doctors Without Borders said.
Israel has agreed to daily pauses in military operations around specified humanitarian "corridors" to allow Gazans to flee fighting, but insisted there will be no broader ceasefire before hostages are released. Qatar is mediating talks on a possible deal to free the hostages.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza has told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces are searching the basement of the Al-Shifa Hospital.
Izzat al-Risheq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, has said that the Israeli attempt to portray its raid on al-Shifa as an accomplishment is “juvenile politics and an open ploy”.
He emphasised that the hospital is a civilian facility housing medics, patients and displaced people – not a military target.
“The push by Netanyahu and his army to paint this as an accomplishment or victory shows their shortcomings and the depth of defeat they have suffered,” al-Risheq said in a video message
Hospitals and the patients inside them "must be protected," the White House said late Tuesday when asked about an operation by its ally Israel, which has sent troops into Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa.
"We won't speak to the specifics of an ongoing Israeli military operation. As we've said, we do not support striking a hospital from the air and we don't want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people trying to get medical care they deserve are caught in the crossfire. Hospitals and patients must be protected," a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said.
A witness inside Al-Shifa has told the BBC’s correspondent in Palestine, Rushdi Abu Alouf, that soliders have entered the complex and “fired a smoke bomb that caused people to suffocate”, Khader Al-Zaanoun told Abu Aloud.
“I saw the soldiers entering the specialised surgical department,” Al-Zaanoun said before contact ended.
Mokhallalati, a doctor at al-Shifa, said Israeli forces are inside the al-Shifa complex but information remains scarce, according to Al Jazeera.
“We saw the tanks and the bulldozers on the centre’s campus,” Mokhallalati said.
He said he inspected the main building above the emergency room, and Israeli forces do not appear to have entered it. But he added that he does not know the state of other buildings that are also housing patients and displaced people.
“The firing is still heavy, and we are hearing explosions everywhere,” Mokhallalati added.
Al Jazeera reports that Hamas has said, “We hold the occupation and President Biden responsible for the occupation army’s storming of the Shifa complex". They further say that Biden's public declaration that the hospital contains a so-called "Hamas command centre" without providing any evidence.
The Palestinian vociferously deny having any military presence in the hospital and claim Biden's claims have given Israel a greenlight to storm the hospital.
“The Israeli occupation and everyone who colluded with it to kill children, patients and innocent civilians will be held accountable,” the group said in a statement.
“The White House and Pentagon’s adoption of the false Israeli narrative claiming that the resistance uses the al-Shifa Medical Centre for military reasons constituted a green light for [Israel] to commit more massacres against civilians, and to forcibly remove them from the north to the south to continue the occupation’s plan of displacing our people.”
Video has emerged online of widespread panic within Al-Shifa hospital with loud gunfire and explosions heard and seen outside as Israel begins its storming of Gaza's largest hospital. The New Arab cannot verify the authenticity of the video.
Panic at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza where 1000s of Palestinian people, including journalists, have sought refuge: yet more israeli war crimes pic.twitter.com/Irxh4f7ie6— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) November 15, 2023
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said al-Shifa administrators rejected Israel’s calls to evacuate the hospital without a proper procedure to ensure that the patients continue to receive the care that their lives depends on, as reported by Al Jazeera.
“The director of the hospital clearly told [Israel] that the evacuation must take place through a safe humanitarian corridor that protects health standards and takes into consideration the state of the patients inside the hospital,” the Health Ministry spokesman told Al Jazeera.
“We cannot just evacuate the hospital to the street. We would be issuing a death sentence [to the patients]".
Palestinian authorities have said they hold Israel's raiding forces fully responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients and displaced people in Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital.
The hospital currently contains around 650 patients and thousands of displaced people.
In a series of posts on social media, Israel’s military said its operation on Al-Shifa hospital has begun and was based on intelligence information and “operational” needs.
The army said its forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers who have been trained to prepare for what it described as a “complex and sensitive” environment.
🔴 Operational Update:— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 15, 2023
IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital, based on intelligence information and an operational necessity.
The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and…
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said the "killing of women, of children, of babies" in the besieged Gaza Strip must end, in his sharpest criticism of Israel since it began its war on Gaza over a month ago.
Canada has maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas. But like the United States and other allies, it has expressed increasing concern over the mounting death toll in the battered enclave, where local health officials say over 11,300 people have been killed since the conflict started.
"I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The world is watching, on TV, on social media - we're hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents," he said.
"The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop," he told a news conference in the western province of British Columbia.
The lives of 36 babies at Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital were hanging in the balance on Tuesday, according to medical staff there who said there was no clear mechanism to move them despite an Israeli effort to supply incubators for an evacuation.
Three of the original 39 premature babies have already died since Gaza's biggest hospital ran out of fuel at the weekend to power generators that had kept their incubators going.
Trudeau has controversially refused to call for a ceasefire but has rather called for "humanitarian pauses", while repeating the Israeli and US line that Hamas will benefit from a ceasefire.
Ashraf al-Qudra, the Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza, said the Israelis contacted a Palestinian health official and said “they will raid the hospital in the coming minutes”, as reported by Al Jazeera.
“And they told us to inform everybody not to be near the windows,” al-Qudra said.
This comes as Israeli shelling of Al-Shifa intensified over the past few hours.
Israel has given approval for 24,000 litres of diesel fuel to be used by trucks for United Nations operations in the Gaza Strip, a humanitarian source said on Tuesday to Reuters.
The fuel is only meant for U.N. trucks, and not for hospitals, the source said. The United States pressured the U.N. to accept the fuel, the source added.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment. There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
Families of hostages held in Gaza demanded on Tuesday that the Israeli government approve a deal "tonight" to secure the release of their relatives.
"The families urgently demand the war cabinet approve a deal tonight to bring home all hostages from Gaza," the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement, as US President Joe Biden said he believed that an agreement with Hamas to free the captives would happen.
Hamas has issued a statement responding to US and Israeli claims that it uses hospitals, such as al-Shifa, as so-called "command centres", saying that American support for the claims are a “green light for the occupation to commit more brutal massacres against hospitals, with the aim of destroying the health sector”.
The statement said that Hamas was happy for the UN to conduct an independent investigation into the claims.
“We renew our call to the United Nations to form an international committee to roam and check all the hospitals to find out the lie that is the narrative of the occupation and its ally, Washington,” Hamas said.
Neither Israel or the US has produced any evidence for the claims, despite repeating them consistently.
Qatar on Tuesday urged Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement on releasing hostages seized in the October 7 attack, warning that the situation in Gaza was worsening every day.
Speaking to a news conference in Doha, Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari said the "deteriorating" situation in Gaza was hampering mediation efforts.
"We believe there is no other chance for both sides other than for this mediation to take place and to reach a situation where we can see a glimmer of hope in this terrible crisis," he said.
The Gulf state has led negotiations for the release of hostages and a temporary ceasefire.
Hamas on Monday said Israel had requested the release of 100 women and children in return for 200 Palestinian children and 75 women held in Israeli prisons.
Qatar is home to the political office of Hamas and is the main residence of the group's self-exiled leader, Ismail Haniyeh.
The wealthy Gulf emirate has used its channels with the group, established with US blessing, to play a lead role in the release of four of the hostages so far.
Separately, a TV station close to the Egyptian security services said the chief of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, was in Cairo to discuss a "humanitarian truce" and the release of hostages.
The New York Times has debunked Israeli allegations that a “misfired projectile” deployed by Palestinian fighters hit al-Shifa Hospital on November 10.
The newspaper’s visual investigations unit said “at least three of the projectiles that struck it appear to have been Israeli munitions, according to pictures of weapons fragments collected and verified by The New York Times and analysed by experts.”
Al-Shifa’s director, Dr Mohammed Abu Salmiya, said at the time that seven people were killed and several others were wounded.
Israel said Palestinian militants had misfired projectiles, but an analysis of photos and videos of Friday’s strikes shows that some of the munitions were likely fired by Israeli forces. https://t.co/cPzoI23Bvf— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) November 14, 2023
Tens of thousands packed a rally in Washington on Tuesday to support Israel and to condemn anti-Semitism in a riposte to weeks of largely pro-Palestinian demonstrations across a deeply divided United States.
With senior members of Congress addressing the event on the National Mall, near the Capitol, the crowd rapidly swelled with people wearing the white and blue colors of Israel and waving placards calling on Hamas to free hostages.
Despite fierce controversy in the United States over the intensity of the Israeli attack on Gaza, rally goer Sergei Kravchick, said, "We of course support Israel.... We're doing exactly what we have to do."
Kravchick, 64, said he was "proud" to see the large turnout.
The demonstration, dubbed the March for Israel, claimed to be centered on combating anti-Semitism and calling for the release of the 240 hostages held by Hamas, according to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, one of the organizers.
However, critics noted that the demonstrators emphasised opposition to a ceasefire, at a time when the Israeli army has heavily bombarded Gaza and launched a ground invasion, killing more than 11,300 people, mostly civilians, including almost 5000 children. The heaviest Israeli assaults have centered around Gaza hospitals, leading to the collapse of the besieged Palestinian enclave's medical infrastructure.
Speaking by video link from Jerusalem, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told the crowd they were "marching for the right of every Jew to live proudly and safely in Israel and the US and the world."
"No one will break us," he said.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer -- a Democrat -- and House Speaker Mike Johnson -- a Republican -- also spoke, as well as family members of the hostages.
"America feels your pain," Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, said.
American forces deployed in Iraq and Syria have been attacked 55 times over the past month, causing minor injuries to dozens of US troops, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Washington has blamed the spike in violence on Tehran-backed forces and carried out strikes on sites in Syria it said were linked to Iran on three separate occasions, but the drone and rocket attacks have continued.
"Since October 17 through today, we are tracking that there have been 55 attacks on US forces. There have been 27 attacks against US forces in Iraq and 28 attacks in Syria," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists, putting the number of injured American personnel at 59.
The surge in attacks on US troops is linked to Israel's war on Gaza, which began when the Palestinian militant group carried out a surprise cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7.
Following the attack, the United States rushed military aid to Israel, which has carried out a relentless air, land and naval assault on Hamas-controlled Gaza that the territory's health ministry says has killed more than 11,300 people.
The government of Belize has issued a statement that it would be taking measures essentially severing ties with Israel.
Belize said the reasons behind its move were Israel’s “unceasing indiscriminate bombing in Gaza” and its violation of international humanitarian law.
Turkey's foreign minister told his Australian counterpart in a call on Tuesday that Israel's targeting of hospitals and schools in Gaza amounted to an "open violation of international law", a Turkish diplomatic source said.
Hakan Fidan also emphasised the urgency of achieving a full ceasefire as soon as possible and the need for unhindered access of humanitarian aid into the enclave, the source said.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned on Tuesday the Israeli army’s bombing of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip’s headquarters describing it as part of ongoing military aggression targeting Palestinian civilians and civilian properties in the Strip, including hospitals, schools, universities, houses of worship, residential homes, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
The United States would like to see safe evacuation for patients at Gaza hospitals to get out of harm's way and will support an independent third party to conduct those evacuations, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Speaking at a news briefing, Miller said Washington did not want to see any civilians, "certainly not babies in incubators" and other vulnerable populations caught in Israel's assault. He added the U.S. was in conversations with humanitarian organizations and third parties on the possible evacuation.
Nebal Farsakh, spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), says the situation inside the al-Quds Hospital is “dire, catastrophic”, according to Al Jazeera.
Farsakh said some 300 people, including medical staff, patients, wounded people, and their families, are currently in the process of evacuating to the south.
Those injured will be treated in one of the few operating hospitals there, she told Al Jazeera.
They have been “besieged, unable to go out of the hospital and no one can even get inside the hospital”, Farsakh said.
For days, those inside al-Quds Hospital had no access to food or running water, she added.
The Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday that the death toll from Israel's attack on the Palestinian territory had reached 11,320.
The dead included 4,650 children and 3,145 women, according to the ministry, which has struggled to keep an exact toll of the dead due to the scale of Israel's air and ground assault on northern Gaza.
Doctors Without Borders have said that a team of 15 international and national staff have made it into southern Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing to help with providing healthcare, amid the collapse of Gaza’s medical infrastructure.
An MSF team of 15 international and national staff entered #Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah crossing point. They will aim to support medical and surgical capacity in the Strip, where the healthcare infrastructure has collapsed, and medics are utterly exhausted.— MSF International (@MSF) November 14, 2023
The head of the UN said Tuesday he was "deeply disturbed by the horrible situation" in Gaza hospitals, as the facilities struggle without power and with mounting numbers of decomposing bodies during the Israeli bombardment of the territory.
"The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the horrible situation and dramatic loss of life in several hospitals in Gaza," Antonio Guterres's spokesman said in a statement.
"In the name of humanity, the Secretary-General calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire."
Heavy rain in Gaza on Tuesday brought new concerns and challenges for Palestinians, many of whom are homeless and living in makeshift tents after weeks of Israeli bombardment.
The start of the rainy season and the possibility of flooding increased fears that the densely populated enclave's sewage system will be overwhelmed and disease will spread.
At a U.N. shelter in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, the rain brought dismay for displaced people who woke to find the clothes they put out to dry the night had been drenched by rain.
"We were in a house built of concrete and now we are in a tent," said Fayeza Srour, who sought safety in the south after Israel began its military offensive in response to the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas fighters who entered southern Israel from Gaza.
"The nylon tarps, the tent and the wood will not resist any flooding... People sleeping on the floor, what will they do? Where will they go?"
Winters can be wet and cold in Gaza, and the enclave is sometimes hit by flooding.
Another displaced Gazan, Karim Mreish, said people at the shelter were praying for the rain to stop.
"Those children, those women, those elderly pray God that it doesn't rain," he said. "If it does it will be very difficult and words will fail to describe our suffering."
The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that Gaza faced an increased risk of disease spreading because Israeli air bombardments had disrupted the health system, limited access to clean water and caused people to crowd in shelters.
It voiced concern on Tuesday about the prospect of rain causing flooding and overwhelming already meagre and damaged sewage facilities.
"We've already got outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases," WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said in Geneva.
She said there were more than 30,000 cases of diarrhoea in a period when WHO would normally expect 2,000 cases.
The head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" over the potential for further escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, as war rages in the Gaza Strip.
Since the Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel from Gaza, Lebanon's southern border has seen intensifying tit-for-tat exchanges, mainly between Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, stoking fears of a broader conflagration.
Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Lieutenant General Aroldo Lazaro, expressed "deep concern about the situation in the south, and the potential for wider and more intensive hostilities".
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is deeply disturbed by the "dramatic loss of life" in several hospitals in the Gaza Strip, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
"In the name of humanity, the secretary-general calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
The way forward is clear:— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 7, 2023
Respect for int'l humanitarian law.
Unconditional release of hostages.
Protection of civilians, hospitals, UN facilities, shelters & schools.
Ending use of civilians as human shields.
More humanitarian aid entering Gaza.
Israel's foreign minister said on Tuesday that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was not fit to head the global body, saying he had not done enough to condemn militant group Hamas and was too close to Iran.
His comments, made at a press conference inside the U.N. building in Geneva, represent an intensification of Israel's criticism of the U.N. in the same week that the latter mourned the killing of more than 100 of its staff in Gaza.
Today, the @UN family observed a moment of silence to mourn & honour our colleagues killed in Gaza.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 13, 2023
Since the start of this conflict, more than 100 @UNRWA staff have lost their lives - the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time.
They will… pic.twitter.com/O9ZBy92Xu0
"Guterres does not deserve to be the head of the United Nations," Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said.
Former British interior minister Suella Braverman criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's leadership on Tuesday after he fired her, saying his plan was not working and he needed to change course urgently.
Sunak sacked Braverman after a string of controversies involving the former Home Secretary, culminating in an unauthorised article accusing police of double standards at protests.
"Someone needs to be honest: your plan is not working, we have endured record election defeats, your resets have failed and we are running out of time. You need to change course urgently," Braverman said in a letter to Sunak which she posted on X.
Braverman said it was disappointing but "for the best" that Sunak had asked her to leave government, and accused Sunak of breaking a string of policy promises.
My letter to the Prime Minister pic.twitter.com/7OBzaZnxr2— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) November 14, 2023
The Israeli army said Tuesday it had captured Gaza's parliament building and other government institutions, as its forces deepened their offensive into the Palestinian territory.
Military units "took over the Hamas parliament, the government building, the Hamas police headquarters and an engineering faculty that served as an institute for the production and development of weapons," the army said in a statement.
Before VS. After - The Hamas parliament in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/RFfvn2Tf8s— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) November 13, 2023
The statement said government institutions of Hamas had been used for "military purposes" including "for training in preparation for the attack on Israel" on October 7. However the statement provided no evidence of the claim
Sanctions on Hamas leadership to include travel bans, asset freezes and arms embargoesPackage is co-ordinated with US and set to disrupt Hamas operations both in Gaza and wherever their leaders base themselves
The UK and US have jointly imposed sanctions on Hamas leadership, including travel bans, asset freezes, and arms embargoes.
These sanctions aim to disrupt Hamas operations in Gaza and beyond.
The UK Foreign Secretary also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people and called for humanitarian pauses to allow vital aid into Gaza.
The United States, in coordination with the UK, is imposing sanctions on individuals and entities that have supported Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. We continue to coordinate with our partners and allies to disrupt these terrorist financing channels.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 14, 2023
Humanitarian aid sent by Italy to Gaza will enter the besieged Palestinian enclave in the coming hours, the Italian foreign minister said on Tuesday
Antonio Tajani told parliament's foreign affairs and defence committees that Italy has sent two C130 military aircraft carrying 16 tonnes of humanitarian aid and they were now in transit towards Gaza, now in its second month of warfare between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.
Trucks were queuing at the Rafah crossing, on the border with Egypt, and were expected to be let in soon, he said.
"We must ensure that all aid that enters the Gaza strip goes to needy civilians and that Hamas does not benefit from it, not even indirectly," the minister said.
#NaveVulcano, equipped with a hospital and 30 medical staff, departed from #Italy to bring humanitarian aid for the civilian population of Gaza, in coordination with @IFRC_MENA. 🇮🇹 MoD @GuidoCrosetto “For us it is a moral duty even before a political one.” pic.twitter.com/Qa2kkHx8vl— Italy in Israel (@ItalyinIsrael) November 9, 2023
The families of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza kicked off a five-day march on Tuesday from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demand the government does much more to secure their release.
Hamas took around 240 people hostage during their Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.
"I demand from Benjamin Netanyahu and the cabinet to give us answers and actions," said Shelly Shem Tov, whose 21-year-old son Omer was held hostage five weeks ago.
The lives of 36 babies at Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital were hanging in the balance on Tuesday, according to medical staff there who said there was no clear mechanism to move them despite an Israeli offer to supply incubators for an evacuation.
Three of the original 39 premature babies have already died since Gaza's biggest hospital ran out of fuel at the weekend to power generators that had kept their incubators going.
The Gaza Strip has been under a total Israeli blockade since Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7. An Israeli ground incursion since then has brought fighting to streets around the hospital in the centre of Gaza City in the north of the strip.
The 36 babies, who weigh less than 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) and with some as small as 700 to 800 grammes, were now lying side-by-side on ordinary beds, exposing them to infection and without any individual adjustments to humidity levels and temperatures, staff said.
"Luckily they are still 36, we didn’t lose any of them overnight," Dr Ahmed El Mokhatallali, a surgeon, told Reuters by telephone from Al Shifa. "But still the risks are really high ... We have still the risk of losing them."
The Palestinian group Hamas and Israel are reportedly close to agreeing on a prisoner exchange deal that would see the release most captured Israeli and imprisoned Palestinian women and children, according to reports.
The Israeli official, on condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that the broad outline of the deal is "understood" and would see the release of kidnapped Israeli women and children in groups simultaneously with Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.
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The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed the evacuation of patients and the wounded from Al-Rantisi Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Al Araby TV, The New Arab's sister station.
The Gaza ministry has also called for international committees to assess the situation at the hospital. This request comes in response to a video from beneath Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital, where the spokesperson for the Israeli military, Daniel Haggari, claimed that there were "indicators" suggesting that Hamas fighters had held prisoners at the hospital during their attack on October 7th. In the footage shot on-site, Haggari stated that the Israeli military found a baby bottle and a piece of string attached to a chair, implying the presence of hostages at the location.
Special footage from the Rantisi hospital in Gaza - on the basement floor, a room was found with signs indicating hostages were held there, underground headquarters and a room full of weapons inside the hospital: pic.twitter.com/pDsyA1mT6T— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי - Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) November 13, 2023
The Gaza Ministry of Health responded, clarifying that the lower floors of Al-Rantisi Hospital, mentioned by the Israeli occupation, were administrative offices that had been converted into shelter locations.
A senior far-right member of Netanyahu's government said on Tuesday Gaza could not survive as an independent entity and it would be better for Palestinians there to leave for other countries.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads one of the religious nationalist parties in Netanyahu's coalition, said he supported a call by two members of the Israeli parliament who wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial that Western countries should accept Gazan families who expressed a desire to relocate.
"I welcome the initiative of the voluntary emigration of Gaza Arabs to countries around the world," Smotrich said in a statement. "This is the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region after 75 years of refugees, poverty and danger."
He said an area as small as the Gaza Strip without natural resources could not survive alone, and added: "The State of Israel will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza".
People trapped inside Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital plan to start burying bodies within the hospital compound on Tuesday without Israeli approval because the situation has become untenable, two sources at the hospital said.
Dr. Ahmed Al Mokhallalati, a surgeon, and Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said in separate telephone interviews from within the compound that more than 100 bodies had accumulated there, creating an acute sanitary crisis.
"We are planning to bury them today in a mass grave inside the Al Shifa medical complex. It is going to be very dangerous as we don't have any cover or protection from the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), but we have no other options, the corpses of the martyrs began to decompose," said Qidra. "The men are digging right now as we speak."
Israeli forces conducted a series of detentions, arresting 28 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, as reported by the Wafa news agency.
These arrests coincided with an Israeli operation killing six Palestinians in Tulkarm. Three fell victim to a drone strike, while others were shot in Tulkarm refugee camp.
The raid left twelve others injured, including four in critical condition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Gaza struggles with heavy rainfall and flooding in certain regions, aggravating the already-dire living conditions for displaced Palestinians.
People are unable to keep warm in the cold weather, combined with the lack of electricity and the scarcity of fuel for heating.
Displaced Palestinians in the south of Gaza were left with their tents and temporary beds soaked by the rain
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has said it is willing to facilitate the evacuation of babies from Gaza's al-Shifa hospital. However, there is no functioning evacuation mechanism to save their lives.
"We have no objection to have the babies moved to any hospital, in Egypt, the West Bank or even to the [Israeli] occupation hospitals. What we care most is about the wellbeing and the lives of those babies," Palestinians Ashraf al-Qidra said on Tuesday.
"With ambulances unable to reach the hospital — particularly those with the skills and equipment needed to transfer these babies — and no hospital with capacity to receive them, there is no indication of how this can be done safely," Melanie Ward, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said in a statement.
Israel had announced earlier that it will coordinate the delivery of incubators to Gaza. Incubators in Gaza's largest hospital, al-Shifa, have been inoperative due to a power outage.
Human Rights Watch condemned Israeli military’s "unlawful attacks" on hospitals and medical teams in Gaza on Tuesday.
The HRW report accused the Israeli attacks of "destroying Gaza’s healthcare system" and said "they should be investigated as war crimes."
Today @HRW denounced #Israeli military’s apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel & transport in #Gaza, which should be investigated as war crimes.#EU should urgently call for accountability for all crimes committed since Oct 7.https://t.co/5TyH1AKnUu pic.twitter.com/CumOSVMBfU— Philippe Dam (@philippe_dam) November 14, 2023
An unlawful Israeli strike on a family in a car on November 5, 2023, should be investigated as an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack killed three girls and their grandmother and wounded their mother.The family had been traveling from south Lebanon to Beirut in the late afternoon, following heavy shelling by Israeli forces in the area earlier that day, Samir Ayoub, the girls’ uncle, said in a TV interview the night of the attack. Ayoub, a journalist, was traveling in a separate car in front of the car that was hit.
The Israeli army on Tuesday announced the deaths of two more soldiers in Gaza, raising the number of troops killed in the Palestinian territory to 46 since the war began.
An army spokesman confirmed the new overall toll to AFP, after announcing two soldiers were killed in combat in northern Gaza on Monday.
Another 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza since 5 November, the U.N. humanitarian office said Tuesday.
U.N.-run shelters in the south are severely overcrowded, with an average of one toilet for 160 people. In all, some 1.5 million Palestinians, more than two thirds of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes.
People stand in line for hours for scarce bread and brackish water. Trash is piling up, sewage is flooding the streets and taps run dry because there is no fuel for water pumps or treatment plants. Israel has barred fuel imports since the start of the war, saying Hamas would use it for military purposes.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, which is struggling to provide basic services to over 600,000 people sheltering in schools and other facilities in the south, said it may run out of fuel by Wednesday, forcing it to halt most aid operations. It said it was unable to continue importing limited supplies of food and medicine through Egypt's Rafah crossing.