Curated By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar
Last Updated: November 18, 2023, 15:42 IST
Khan Yunis, Palestinian Territories
Hundreds of Palestinians fled on foot after Israel’s army ordered the evacuation of Gaza’s main and largest hospital the Al Shifa, claiming that it was a command and control centre of Hamas.
Israeli troops ordered over loudspeakers the evacuation of the Al-Shifa hospital “in the next hour”, according to a report by AFP. Their report also said that around 450 patients who were unable to be moved remained at Al-Shifa hospital.
The Israeli forces called Mohammed Abu Salmiya and instructed him to ensure “the evacuation of patients, wounded, the displaced and medical staff, and that they should move on foot towards the seafront”.
The focus of the war now lies on the Al-Shifa hospital and Israel continues to press military operations inside the hospital in order to find the Hamas control centre. Hamas has denied the claims put forward by Israel.
The Hamas-run health ministry said in a statement 120 wounded were still at the facility, along with an unspecified number of premature babies, adding it was in touch with the Red Cross about the infants.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.
The army’s air and ground campaign has since killed 12,000 people, including 5,000 children, according to the Hamas government which has ruled Gaza since 2007.
The UN said that at least 2,300 patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at Al-Shifa before Israel began its operation there last week.
The Israeli army has claimed that it found rifles, ammunition, explosives and the entrance to a tunnel shaft at the hospital complex but news agencies failed to verify those claims. Hamas has denied these charges as well.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, without providing details, that there were “strong indications” hostages were held at the Shifa facility.
Israel is yet to recover hostages at the hospital but said it found bodies of two women who were kidnapped not far away. They said that they found the remains of kidnapped woman soldier Noa Marciano, 19, at a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa hospital” on Friday. They said that they discovered the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss near Al Shifa.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)