Israeli army ‘threatens to destroy Al-Shifa hospital with people inside’: report

Israeli army ‘threatens to destroy Al-Shifa hospital with people inside’: report
After attacking the medical complex for days, the Israeli military has threatened to destroy Al-Shifa, the Gaza government media office said.
3 min read
israel has relentlessly targeted the Al-Shifa medical complex since last Monday [Getty]

The Israeli army reportedly threatened on Saturday to destroy the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza city, despite the presence of hundreds of people inside, according to a statement from the Gaza government media office.

“We received testimonies from inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex indicating that the Israeli occupation army threatened the medical staff and the displaced people sheltering there that it would destroy the hospital buildings with them inside,” the government media office said in a statement.

It said that the Israeli army was demanding that the thousands of people in the complex leave, where they would be at risk of “torture, investigation, and execution”.

Israel first attacked the Al-Shifa Medical Complex – the Gaza Strip’s largest medical facility, where thousands of displaced people and patients are sheltering - last November.

It launched a new ongoing attack last Monday and dozens of people have been killed.Palestinians have witnessed constant bombardment, mass arrests, tanks and corpses littering the streets during a multi-day Israeli raid, with no end in sight.

The Israeli army claims it is targeting Hamas militants there, saying it killed around 150 and detained dozens more. However Palestinian civilians in the compound say that they are the ones being targeted for execution and detention.

"Everyone is afraid of being executed or arrested," 59-year-old Mohammed, who lives about 500 metres (0.3 miles) from Al-Shifa and gave only his first name, said.

"I feel that Gaza has become worse than the fires of hell," he told AFP.

"I saw many bodies on Al-Shifa Street and tanks blocking the roads leading to the hospital. I saw fires in a house next to Al-Shifa."

The surrounding areas, the Al-Rimal neighbourhood and Al-Shati refugee camp, are like "ghost towns", with only few residents remaining, said Mohammed.

Many Palestinians in the territory's north, where Gaza City is located, fled south earlier in the war.  Israel’s indiscriminate war on Gaza, which began on October 7 following a surprise Hamas attack, has flattened schools, hospitals, and mosques and killed at least 32,142 people.

Mahmoud Abu Amra, 50, who lives in Al-Rimal, said Israeli troops forced "women and children to go west to Al-Rashid road on the coast, and then to the south of the Gaza Strip".

Those who remain in the north, about 300,000 people according to the United Nations, face dire conditions and crippling shortages of basic supplies.

On Friday at dawn Abu Amra said he saw Israeli forces raiding homes and residential buildings in Gaza City's west.

"These forces evacuated all residents from their homes, and forced all men over the age of 16 to strip completely except for their underwear," he said.

"They tied them up, beat them with rifle butts, insulted them and took them to a school near Al-Shifa hospital for interrogation and detention."

Israel claims that there is a secret Hamas command and control centre underneath the Al-Shifa hospital, but Hamas denies these claims annd there has been no independent confirmation.