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Two hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip are under attack by Israeli forces, Palestinian health authorities say CBC News

WARNING: This story contains graphic images

Israeli forces besieged two more hospitals in Gaza on Sunday and pinned down medical teams under heavy fire, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, while Israel said it captured 480 militants in ongoing clashes at Gaza’s main Al-Shifa hospital.

Israel says hospitals in the Palestinian enclave, where war has raged for more than five months, are being used as bases by Hamas militants. Videos and images have been released supporting the claim.

Hamas and medical staff deny the allegations.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its employees was killed when Israeli tanks suddenly advanced into areas around Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals in the southern city of Khan Younis amid heavy bombardment and gunfire.

An adult carries injured children to a crowded hospital.
A man carries children injured by Israeli bombardment at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli forces began operations around Al-Amal, the military said, after “precise intelligence … indicated that terrorists were using civilian infrastructure for terrorist activities in the Al-Amal area.”

Israeli forces sealed off Al-Amal Hospital and carried out extensive bulldozing work around it, the Red Crescent said in a statement.

“All of our teams are currently in extreme danger and completely unable to move,” it said.

The Red Crescent said Israeli forces were now calling for the full evacuation of staff, patients and displaced people from the Al Amal compound and were firing smoke bombs into the area to disperse residents.

Map of the Gaza Strip before the war:


A displaced Palestinian was killed in the hospital grounds after being hit in the head by Israeli fire, the Red Crescent said in a later update.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said dozens of patients and medical staff were being held by Israeli forces at Al-Shifa Hospital, which has been under Israeli control for a week.

The Hamas-run government media office said Israeli forces killed five Palestinian doctors in their seven-day attack on Al-Shifa in Gaza City, in the north of the enclave.

VIEW | Gaza’s health system devastated by war and aid deficits:

The health system in the Gaza Strip has been devastated by war and a lack of aid supplies

The Israeli war in Gaza has crippled medical services in the area, and even if the war were to end now, the fatal consequences are likely to last for years, a British Foreign Office report says.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this report. It was previously said that more than 170 gunmen were killed in the attack, which the Palestinian Ministry of Health said also resulted in the deaths of five patients.

Al-Shifa is one of the few health facilities in northern Gaza that is even partially operational and, like others, has housed some of the nearly two million civilians – more than 80 percent of Gaza’s population – displaced by the war.

Israeli attack kills seven people in Rafah, officials say

Reuters was unable to access the disputed Gaza hospital areas or verify either side’s accounts.

Residents of Khan Younis said Israeli forces also advanced and formed a cordon around Nasser Hospital in the west of the city under cover of heavy air and ground fire.

An Israeli airstrike on a house killed seven people in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city on the Egyptian border and which has become the last refuge for half of Gaza’s uprooted population, health officials said.

An aerial view shows people gathering around a destroyed residential building.
People assess the damage to residential buildings after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah on Sunday. (Fatima Shbair/The Associated Press)

At least 32,226 Palestinians have been killed, including 84 in the last 24 hours, and 74,518 have been injured in Israel’s air and ground offensive into the densely populated coastal area since October 7, Gaza’s Health Ministry said in a Sunday update.

Israel launched the offensive after Islamist militants led by Hamas attacked its south on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and bringing 253 hostages back to Gaza, according to Israel.

U.S.-backed mediation by Qatar and Egypt has so far failed to secure a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, the release of prisoners and full aid to Gaza’s starving civilians, with both sides sticking to their core demands.

VIEW | UN warns of impending famine in northern Gaza Strip:

UN warns of impending famine in the northern Gaza Strip without an increase in aid deliveries

The United Nations food insecurity monitor warns that famine is looming in parts of the Gaza Strip and could spread unless an immediate ceasefire is reached between Israel and Hamas to allow a surge in aid deliveries.

Hamas wants any ceasefire agreement to include an Israeli commitment to ending the war and withdrawing forces from Gaza. Israel has ruled this out and said it would continue fighting until Hamas was eradicated as a political and military force.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the backlog of aid to Gaza a “moral outrage” during a visit to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Saturday.

Speaking in Cairo on Sunday, Guterres said the only effective and efficient way to deliver heavy goods to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza was by road transport.

The United States and other countries have tried to use airdrops and ships to deliver aid, but U.N. aid officials say deliveries can only be expanded by land and accuse Israel of obstructing aid – an accusation which Israel denies.

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