KHAN YOUNIS (Gaza Strip) – A United Nations team said Sunday that 291 patients remained in Gaza’s largest hospital after Israeli forces evacuated others. Among those who stayed were 32 children Very critical conditionTrauma patients with highly infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries and unable to move.
The World Health Organization, which led the mission, said the team was able to tour Al-Shifa Hospital for an hour after about 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left the sprawling complex on Saturday morning. She added that 25 medical staff members are still with the patients.
“The patients and health workers they spoke to were terrified for their safety and health, and requested evacuation,” the agency said, describing Shifa as a death zone. She added that more teams will try to reach Al-Shifa in the coming days to try to evacuate patients to southern Gaza, where hospitals are also overcrowded.
Israel has long claimed that Hamas maintains a sprawling presence The command center is inside and under the healing. It portrayed the hospital as a main target in its war to end militant rule in Gaza after its invasion A large-scale attack on southern Israel Six weeks ago, which led to the outbreak of war.
Hamas and hospital workers deny these accusations. Israeli forces stationed in the hospital and Researching its causes for several days They say they found weapons and other weapons, and showed reporters the entrance to a tunnel. The Associated Press was unable to independently verify Israel’s findings.
The mass departure was on Saturday Israel portrays it as voluntaryBut the World Health Organization said the army had issued evacuation orders, and some of those who left described it as forced displacement.
“We left at gunpoint,” Mahmoud Abu Auf told The Associated Press by phone after he and his family left the crowded hospital. “There were tanks and snipers everywhere, inside and outside.” He said he saw Israeli forces arrest three men.
Strikes in the north and south
Elsewhere in the northern Gaza Strip, dozens were killed in the Jabalia refugee camp when what witnesses described as an Israeli airstrike hit a crowded United Nations shelter on Saturday. The two injured survivors, Ahmed Radwan and Yassin Sharif, said that the explosion caused massive destruction in Al-Fakhoura School in the camp.
“The scenes were terrifying. The bodies of women and children were on the ground. Others were screaming for help,” Radwan said by phone. AP photos from a local hospital showed more than 20 bodies wrapped in blood-stained blankets.
The Israeli army, which has repeatedly called on the Palestinians to leave northern Gaza, merely said that its forces were active in the area “with the aim of striking terrorists.” She rarely comments on individual strikes, only saying that they are targeted agitation While trying to reduce harm to civilians.
In the southern Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike hit a residential building near the town of Khan Yunis on Saturday, killing at least 26 Palestinians, according to a doctor at the hospital where the bodies were taken.
More than 11,500 Palestinians were killed, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 were reported missing. It is believed to be buried under the rubble. count No difference between civilians and combatants; Israel says it has killed thousands of activists.
Hostages and aid
About 1,200 people were killed on the Israeli side, most of them civilians killed during the Hamas attack on October 7, in which the movement also participated. About 240 prisoners were withdrawn Return to Gaza. The army says 52 Israeli soldiers were killed.
Hamas released four hostages, Israel rescued one, and the bodies of two hostages were found near Al-Shifa in an area that witnessed intense fighting.
Israel, the United States, and the Gulf state of Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating the release of the hostages for weeks. On Saturday, a senior White House official indicated that it would be necessary to finish this before large amounts of much-needed aid could enter.
Brett McGurk, the White House National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, said: “The release of a large number of hostages will lead to a significant cessation of fighting… and a massive increase in humanitarian aid.” He said at a conference in Bahrain.
Gaza’s main power station stopped working early in the war and Israel cut off electricity. This has left local authorities unable to operate water treatment plants, bakeries, hospitals and other vital infrastructure without fuel for generators, which has declined since Israel cut off all imports at the beginning of the war.
More than two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes. The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people who have taken refuge in schools and other facilities.
Over the weekend, Israel allowed UNRWA to import enough fuel to continue humanitarian operations for a few more days, and to keep its internet and phone systems running. UNRWA was forced to continue aid operations Waiting for Friday During a communications outage
Gaza receives only 10% of the food supplies required each day Shipments from EgyptAccording to the United Nations, the closure of the water system has left most residents abandoned Drinking contaminated water.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant said on Saturday that Israeli forces are expanding their operations in Gaza City. “With each passing day, there are fewer places where Hamas terrorists can operate,” he said, adding that the militants would learn this in southern Gaza “in the coming days.”
His comments were the clearest indication yet that the military intends to do just that Expanding its attack on the southern Gaza StripWhere Israel asked Palestinian civilians to seek refuge there. The evacuation area is Already crowded with displaced civiliansIt was not clear where they would go if the attack approached.
Even as it warns against expanding the offensive, Israel remains at odds with its main ally, the United States, over what to do with Gaza if it succeeds in removing Hamas from power.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that the Israeli army will have “complete freedom” to operate within the territories after the war, indicating that it will do so. At least temporarily reoccupy The area from which soldiers and settlers were removed in 2005.
Gaza and the West Bank must be reunited and governed under a comprehensive peace agreement, US President Joe Biden said in an op-ed published Saturday in The Washington Post. “Revitalizing the Palestinian Authority” While world leaders work to find a solution that would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Netanyahu’s government strongly opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority has said it will only return to governing Gaza – where Hamas defeated its forces in 2007 – as part of a comprehensive two-state solution to the decades-long conflict.
Magdy reported from Cairo.
Complete AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.