Several Palestinians killed in Israeli raids on Gaza's Nasser Hospital and West Bank

Israeli soldiers opened fire on displaced men in Nasser hospital after forcing them to leave the facility

Israel initiated an assault on Gaza's Nasser Hospital on Wednesday, adding to a series of strikes aimed at medical facilities in the Palestinian territory. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza

Several people were killed and wounded on Wednesday morning as Israel conducted raids at Gaza's Nasser Hospital and across the occupied West Bank, even as an assault continued at Al Shifa Hospital and the areas around it.

Soldiers also arrested medical staff and displaced civilians who sought shelter inside Nasser Hospital, the official Wafa news agency reported, and “opened fire” on displaced men at the site after ordering them to leave the building.

It was the latest in a string of attacks against hospitals in the Palestinian enclave as the southern Gaza Strip came under intense Israeli bombardment, despite international pressure for an immediate ceasefire.

In the occupied West Bank, three Palestinians were killed and four others wounded by Israeli fire during overnight raids, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Overnight, 66 people were killed in Gaza, including three in air strikes in and around Rafah, the Gaza Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

At least 32,490 Palestinians have been killed and another 74,889 wounded since the war began on October 7.

The assault on Nasser Hospital came hours after witnesses said tanks were surrounding the complex.

Palestinians have reported intense strikes in the vicinity of the hospital for more than a week.

The medical complex was raided in February in an operation that killed several people and turned it into a “military barracks”, Palestinian media reported at the time.

Others were arrested and the hospital was badly damaged.

Saltwater to drink

Doctors trapped in the hospital during the February siege previously told The National of Israeli quadcopters firing into operating rooms, and food and water shortages that forced people to drink saltwater.

On Tuesday, Gaza's Health Ministry said Israeli troops were firing “shells and conducting violent raids in its surroundings in preparation for its storming”.

“Thousands of displaced people are still inside the hospital,” the ministry said. “They do not have sufficient quantities of drinking water, food and infant formula, and their lives are in danger.”

Gaza's once-fragile healthcare sector has now completely collapsed due to Israeli attacks, with no fully functioning hospitals left following the latest raids.

Attack on Al Shifa

In Gaza city, the army continues a raid on Al Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, in what it has described as “one of the most successful operations” of the war.

That raid, one of several on the hospital, has killed more than 170 Palestinians and led to the arrest of at least another 500 people.

In an update on Wednesday, the army claimed to have killed “dozens” of “terrorists” in the hospital's vicinity.

Witnesses at Al Shifa spoke of arrests and humiliating treatment by Israeli soldiers.

Mohammed Mershid and other members of his family were detained for three days in Gaza city before being forced to leave.

“At the beginning, Israeli warplanes targeted our homes and then arrested me, my brother, my mother and my sisters,” Mr Mershid told the National.

Mr Mershid and his brother were admitted to Shuhada Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, where they were wrapped in blue plastic gowns because Israeli soldiers had forced them to leave Gaza city naked.

“They took us to a burnt area and made us lay down on glass fragments, handcuffing us in the cold weather,” he said. “What we experienced was incredibly difficult and horrifying, beyond description.”

Survivors of the raid have described severe food, water and electricity shortages, as well as beatings and mass killings inside the hospital's morgue.

Palestinians inside the complex and in the vicinity of the hospital have been ordered to go south, despite Israeli attacks reported across the enclave, including the southern cities of Rafah, Khan Younis and the so-called Al Mawasi “safe zone.”

Also in Khan Younis, the nearby Al Amal Hospital, run by the Palestinian Red Crescent, has been out of service after an Israeli raid that killed two people – one Red Crescent volunteer and one hospital patient – last week.

It followed a 40-day siege which began in late January.

The hospital “stopped working completely after the occupation forces forced the hospital’s crews and the wounded to evacuate it and closed its entrances with dirt barriers”, the PRCS said on Tuesday evening.

It said the attack on the hospital was part of a continuing pattern of Israeli offences against medical staff, and Red Crescent members in particular, since the war began on October 7.

The PCRS also criticised the international community for failing “to provide the necessary protection for its staff, patients, and displaced persons”.

West Bank violence

The death toll is also rising in the occupied West Bank, where Israel has increased raids, arrests, and its use of deadly drone strikes.

A 19-year-old was shot dead in Jenin on Wednesday morning, the director of the Jenin government hospital told Wafa, hours before an Israeli drone strike killed another two people in the city.

Israeli snipers were stationed across various parts of Jenin and its refugee camp, while troops destroyed memorials for Palestinians killed in the conflict, Wafa said.

Three men were arrested before their vehicle was bombed in the vicinity of Al Razi Hospital, it added.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, a woman was shot and wounded in Burqa, near Nablus, while four men were also shot and seriously wounded in Qabatiya.

Updated: March 27, 2024, 2:51 PM