Fifty people killed in Al Shifa Hospital in continuing Israeli assault

Total death toll now 140 since attack on largest medical facility in northern Gaza began on Monday

Smoke rises from a building during an Israeli raid at Al Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza. Reuters
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At least 50 people have been killed in Israel's latest raid on Al Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza's north, bringing the death toll to 140 since the operation began on Monday.

Israeli soldiers told those displaced inside the hospital to leave the complex at dawn on Thursday and threatened to carry out a strike if they did not comply, local reports and witnesses said.

Local Palestinian media reported that buildings surrounding Al Shifa complex were set on fire, including homes on Rashid Street and Al Mina neighbourhood, west of Gaza city.

In a video recorded in the hospital's courtyard, Israeli army spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said more than 250 people have been arrested and 350 others are “suspected to be connected to terror”.

Admiral Hagari also said the Israeli army is supplying food and water to those inside, without adding further details.

Palestinians within the hospital have reported that people have no food available to break their Ramadan fast.

Gaza's government media office said Israeli forces killed 13 hospital patients "by denying them medicine, food, refills, treatments, and oxygen in the intensive care rooms."

Four people on ventilators died after the electricity supply at the hospital was cut off, it added.

Doctors and nurses "were taken out of the departments, forced to take off their clothes, and prevented from reaching patient rooms to try to save them," the statement said, adding patients' wounds have begun rotting due to a lack of staff and medical supplies.

Emmy Shaheen, who lives near Al Shifa Hospital, has been posting videos from her family home nearby describing the shelling.

In her last post on Wednesday, she said members of her family were injured in attacks on her home. She also said the Israeli forces refused to grant emergency crew access to rescue them.

“The situation is catastrophic. Pray for us,” she said.

Local reports showed black smoke rising from the special surgery building, which houses one of Gaza's largest medicine storage units.

People inside the hospital also described groups of detained Palestinians being led into the hospital's morgue before being shot.

One witness, who was named only by their initials MK, told the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor he was stripped and handcuffed for nine hours.

“About four times during that period, I saw soldiers lead groups of detainees –[always] at least three people and [never] more than 10 – into the hospital buildings, particularly the morgue building where bodies had previously been kept."

“Gunshots were heard, with the soldiers then leaving the area to bring another group there.”

Another survivor also told the monitor he saw several groups of eight to 10 people being led into the morgue, before "heavy gunfire" was heard.

Israeli soldiers left the morgue with no civilians, they added.

The monitor called for the establishment of an international committee to investigate "the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli forces as part of its genocide campaign, which includes planned killings and executions against civilians that are outside the purview of the law and judiciary".

About 5,000 injured patients were being treated at the hospital, which also houses over 30,000 displaced people, the ministry said.

“We call on all warring parties to respect the grounds and perimeter of the hospital and ensure the safety of medical personnel, patients and civilians,” Doctors Without Borders said earlier this week.

Israel said it killed Faiq Mabhouh, the director of police investigations in northern Gaza. Hamas said Mr Mabhouh was responsible for protecting and securing aid lorries and co-ordinating with the UN over the protection and distribution of aid.

Hamas accused Israel of carrying out the attack “to influence the protection of aid and increase chaos as sought by the occupation (Israel)”.

The Hamas-linked Shehab news agency reported that Israel had also killed the police chief Raed Al Bana, who oversaw aid deliveries to Jabalia in northern Gaza. It said he died in a strike on his home which also killed his wife and children.

Israel did not immediately comment on the report.

Updated: March 21, 2024, 5:55 PM