ISRAELI occupation forces (IOF) stormed Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City at dawn yesterday, kidnapping dozens of injured, displaced people, forcing them outside undressed, blindfolded and handcuffed and transporting them to an unknown destination.
Eyewitnesses inside the hospital reported that Israeli forces and their armoured vehicles stormed the western area of the medical complex and blew up doors and walls of the departments there.
The eyewitnesses added that dozens of Israeli soldiers broke into the emergency department building of the hospital, amid presence of several tanks and armoured vehicles in the main courtyard of the facility.
Spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, denounced the Israeli occupation forces for opening fire inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex.
Qudra said that the Israeli shootings inside the medical facility were unjustified because there was not any form of resistance there. ‘What the Israeli occupation is doing at the hospital constitutes terrorism for doctors and patients.’
He affirmed that there are 1,500 medical personnel and about 7,000 patients and displaced civilians inside the medical complex.
For his part, director of the Government Media Office in Gaza Ismail al-Thawabta accused international organisations and the Red Cross of ignoring appeals for saving the wounded and patients at Al-Shifa Hospital.
‘We hold the occupation, the international community and the US fully responsible for the safety of thousands of medical personnel, the wounded and displaced civilians, and we warn against any intent to commit a massacre at Al-Shifa Hospital,’ Thawabta said.
Dr Munir al-Bursh, general director of hospitals in Gaza, said Israeli soldiers destroyed equipment in the basement and other buildings, including those housing the emergency and surgery departments.
‘They are still here … patients, women and children are terrified,’ he said. Al-Bursh said doctors vowed to stay with their patients ‘till the end’.
He called for the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to secure a safe corridor for patients, staff, and displaced families trapped in the facility to leave.
The UN estimates there are at least 2,300 patients, staff and civilians inside the facility.
- A video has captured the moment an Israeli bulldozer destroyed a memorial to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank.
Scholars say the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage during conflict can constitute a war crime.
- A group of lawyers representing Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks on Gaza have filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC), arguing that Israel’s actions amount to the crime of genocide.
Gilles Devers, a veteran French lawyer and the victims’ representative before the ICC, submitted the complaint to the prosecutor as part of a four-person delegation in the Dutch city of The Hague yesterday.
- Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, yesterday promised his new government would ‘work in Europe and in Spain to recognise the Palestinian state’.
‘We demand an immediate ceasefire on the part of Israel in Gaza and strict compliance with international humanitarian law, which today is clearly not respected,’ he said.
• See editorial