Israel-Hamas war: Palestinians describe raid around Gaza hospital

Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinians fleeing an Israeli attack on Gaza's main hospital described in interviews Sunday mass arrests and forced marches of bodies, while the United Nations said Israel is now blocking its main agency from sending food to Palestinians. Aid to the north where the enclave was destroyed.

Israel's military says it has killed more than 170 militants and arrested about 480 suspects in a raid that began Monday at Shifa Hospital, a blow to Hamas and other armed groups. War Approaching the six month mark.

The fighting highlights the resilience of Palestinian armed groups in a largely devastated area of ​​Gaza. A similar attack in the early weeks of the war.

Karim Ayman Hadad, who lived in a five-story building about 100 meters from the hospital, said he sometimes hid in the kitchen for days when explosions rocked the building.

Early Saturday morning, Israeli troops stormed the building and forced dozens of residents to leave. He said the men were forced to remove their underwear and four were detained. The rest were ordered to close their eyes and follow a tank to the south as shells rained down around them.

“Every once in a while, the tank would fire a shell,” he told The Associated Press. “It was meant to scare us.”

Israeli jets on Sunday launched several strikes near the Shifa hospital, which has been out of action since the November attack. Israeli forces months ago claimed that Hamas maintained an elaborate command center there exposed a single tunnel It leads to a few underground chambers.

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Gaza City, where northern Gaza and Shifa are located, has not received any aid in recent weeks. The isolated area suffered widespread destruction in the early days of Israel's offensive. October 7 Hamas attack It provoked war.

As of Sunday, the UN Office for Palestinian Refugees Israel has told the agency it will no longer approve agency food trucks for northern Gaza, UNRWA chief Philip Lazzarini said on social media.

“It is outrageous and willfully blocking life-saving aid during a man-made famine,” he said. company, Gaza's largest humanitarian provider, has been repeatedly accused by Israel of having ties to Hamas. The Israeli government did not immediately respond.

Palestinians inspect the damage to residential buildings after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shpir)

Experts have said Famine is imminent in northern GazaMore than 210,000 people suffer from catastrophic starvation.

A day after standing next to some of the 7,000 aid trucks waiting to enter Gaza, the UN called the starvation a “moral outrage.” Secretary General said. Antonio Gutierrez It called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of hostages in Gaza and the removal of Israel's “barriers and chokeholds” to allow aid to flood in.

“Looking at Gaza, the four horsemen of war, famine, victory and death seem to be passing through it,” Guterres said in Egypt, adding that nothing justifies the collective punishment of the Palestinians.

Five Palestinians trapped in Shifa Hospital died without food, water or medical services, Gaza's health ministry said. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the conditions as “absolutely inhumane”.

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Jameel al-Ayobi, among the thousands who stayed in Shifa when the current raid began, said tanks and armored bulldozers plowed through hospital yards, crushing ambulances and civilian vehicles. He saw tanks drive over at least four bodies of those killed in the raid.

Israel's military said on Saturday it had evacuated patients and medical staff from Shifa's emergency department because militants had “taken root” there and set up an alternative base for seriously injured patients.

Abed Ratwan, who lived about 200 meters (yards) from the hospital, said Israeli forces attacked all the area's buildings, detaining many and forcing the rest to march south. He saw bodies in the streets and several flattened houses.

“They don't leave anything untouched,” he said.

Early on Sunday, Israel's army struck Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals in the southern city of Khan Yunis amid “very intense shelling”. Israel's military announced operations in Khan Younis targeting Hamas infrastructure, saying it had “destroyed the terrorists at close range with tank fire”. Army said that soldiers are not working in hospitals at present.

Now in its sixth month, the war has killed at least 32,226 Palestinians Ministry of Health of Gaza. It does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its numbers, but says women and children make up about two-thirds of the dead.

Palestinians inspect the damage to residential buildings after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, March 24, 2024.  (AP Photo/Fatima Shpir)

Palestinians inspect the damage to residential buildings after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shpir)

Israel claims to have killed more than 13,000 militants. It blames civilian casualties on Hamas, accusing it of using schools, hospitals and residential areas.

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More than 80% of Gaza's population of 2.3 million have fled their homes, with most seeking refuge. In the southern city of Rafah, calling Israel the next target of its ground attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Rejects US demands Others to avoid a major ground operation there, saying it was necessary to defeat Hamas.

An October 7 attack led by Hamas across southern Israel killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took scores of hostages. It is estimated that Hamas still holds 100 hostages and the remains of 30 others. Most of the rest were released in exchange for the release of some Palestinian prisoners in November.

The US, Qatar and Egypt are trying to broker another ceasefire.

Across the border from Gaza on Sunday, Jews celebrated Very happy holidaysPurim, the biblical story of how a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews in Persia was thwarted as a pledge of Jewish survival.

The war has fueled instability across the region, including Low intensity conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group. An Israeli airstrike hit a car in the Lebanese city of Soueiri on Sunday, killing a Syrian construction worker, Lebanese state media reported.

Overnight, the Israeli military said it had struck a Hezbollah weapons manufacturing facility in Baalbek, northeastern Lebanon. Local officials said three people were injured. Hezbollah later announced that it fired 60 missiles across the border in response. There were no reports of Israeli casualties.

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Sami Magdi reports from Cairo. Abby Sewell contributed to this report from Beirut.

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