The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it was carrying out a “targeted operation” against Hamas as it raided Gaza City’s main Al-Shifa hospital. At around 1 am local time, Gaza health ministry spokesman said that Israel had told the officials that it would raid the hospital complex “in the coming minutes”, reported Reuters.
“Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa hospital,” said the Israeli Defence Forces in a statement, as per the Reuters report.
“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians,” it added.
A doctor at al-Shifa, Mokhallalati told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces are inside the hospital complex adding that he inspected the main building above the emergency room “and Israeli forces do not appear to have entered it”.
He also said that he does not know the state of other buildings that are housing patients and displaced people.
“We saw the tanks and the bulldozers on the centre’s campus,” Mokhallalati told Al Jazeera, adding: “The firing is still heavy, and we are hearing explosions everywhere.”
Israel has been asserting that Hamas fighters are stationed near and under the Al-Shifa hospital while the Palestinian militant group has denied such claims.