Israeli forces kill more than 170 people at Al Shifa Hospital during ongoing assault

People inside complex face 'famine-like conditions' says fleeing mother

Smoke rises during the continuing Israeli raid on Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, which began on Monday. Reuters
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Israeli forces say they have killed more than 170 people during their raid on the Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, which began on Monday.

The army also said it has “questioned” more than 800 people.

Medics said parts of the hospital complex, which was one of the only healthcare facilities even partially operating in the north of the enclave, have been set on fire and that Israeli forces are threatening to bomb buildings with people inside if they do not leave.

“Thus far, the forces eliminated more than 170 terrorists in the area of the hospital, questioned over 800 suspects, and located numerous weapons and terror infrastructure,” the Israeli military said on Saturday.

Israeli troops have been combing through the sprawling hospital complex, which the military says is linked to a tunnel network used as a base for Hamas. The militant group and medical staff have vehemently denied the allegations.

Vascular surgeon Dr Taisir Al Tanna, who left the complex on Thursday, told The National on Friday: “The hospital's state is terrible. Very few patients. The displaced are mostly gone. The yard is completely destroyed.

“The new building has been set on fire. Even if the army leaves the hospital, [it] won't return to its normal state for at least a month.”

Dr Al Tanna said bodies cannot be recovered because of the danger of being shot.

Fifth-year medical student Ezz Eddin Lulu shared a message online “from my colleagues” saying Israeli forces were threatening to bomb those inside Al Shifa, which has been housing thousands of displaced civilians, if they do not leave.

Mr Lulu has been posting on social media sporadically. He said some people at the hospital had not eaten for four days.

Israel says it is bringing food, water and supplies to those who remain inside.

Palestinian mother Nozha Awad and her triplets fled the hospital, where they had been taking refuge, on Thursday.

During the raid, she told Reuters, she had lived in “famine-like conditions” as her children went without food, water or milk.

Dr Al Tanna, who is now operating at Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza city, has received some of the Israeli food and water but said it was a “hit and miss” and barely enough.

It is unclear where the two doctors were during the raid – and why some received food, while others did not.

Several Palestinian local outlets reported that a medic, Dr Mohammad Zaher Al Nunu, was killed for “refusing to leave the complex, patients and injured behind”.

The National could not independently verify the reports, as communications are down inside the hospital.

About 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's war in Gaza which followed the October 7 attacks by Hamas on southern Israel.

Updated: March 23, 2024, 12:47 PM