Israeli forces raid Gaza's largest hospital to search for Hamas militants

by IANS |

Gaza, Nov 15 (IANS) Dozens of the Israeli army forces on Wednesday carried out a raid at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city amid heavy gunfire, according to a senior medical official.

In a press statement sent to Xinhua news agency, Monir al-Bursh, director-general of the pharmaceutical department at the Gaza Health Ministry, said that "the Israeli army officially informed the hospital in a phone call that the raid was being carried out, demanding that people not approach windows, balconies or doors".

For its part, the Israeli army said that it was carrying out a precise operation against Hamas in a specific area inside Al-Shifa hospital based on intelligence information and an operational need, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman of the Health Ministry, said, "There is nothing that would require shooting inside the hospital because there is no form of resistance there, and what the occupation is doing constitutes terrorism for those in the complex."

About 1,500 staff members and 7,000 displaced people are currently stuck in the hospital, depending on capacity, according to al-Qedra.

Israeli tanks surrounded several hospitals in Gaza city over the past few days, claiming that they contain tunnels that constitute a base used by Hamas to shelter its leadership in addition to leading military operations against the Israeli army.

Both Hamas and the Health Ministry in Gaza denied Israel's accusations, considering them "an attempt to mislead and incite in preparation for the destruction of hospitals and the killing of patients".

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