Israeli troops raid Nasser Hospital in Gaza, endangering lives of patients

Gaza’s Health Ministry warned that critically ill patients are in “extreme danger” amid an Israeli raid on the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis city. (Photo/AFP Archive)

Israeli forces have raided the biggest functioning hospital in Gaza, as video posted online showed chaos, shouting and the sound of shooting in darkened corridors that were filled with dust and smoke.

Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari described the raid on Thursday on Nasser Hospital as "precise and limited" and said it was based on information that Hamas was hiding in the facility.

Hagari also claimed that Hamas had kept hostages inside the hospital and that bodies of hostages may still be there.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel's statement accusing the group of hiding fighters or keeping hostages at the hospital was "lies". He added that "all previous Israeli allegations against hospitals had proven to be false".

Health authorities in the enclave said Israel had forced out displaced people and families of medical staff sheltering in Nasser Hospital, with some 2,000 arriving in the southern border city of Rafah overnight.

Others were pushed north to Deir al Balah in central Gaza as Israeli attacks devastate the tiny, crowded enclave.


The UN humanitarian office had said on Wednesday that Nasser Hospital was besieged by Israeli forces with allegations of sniper fire at the facility, endangering the lives of medics, patients and thousands of displaced people.

Facing an impossible choice

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders said people ordered by Israel to evacuate the hospital faced an impossible choice to stay "and become a potential target" or leave "into an apocalyptic landscape" of bombings.

Fighting at the hospital comes as Israel faces growing international pressure to show restraint in its Gaza war, after vowing to press its offensive into Rafah, the last relatively safe place for Palestinian civilians in the enclave.

Attacks that have destroyed the majority of Gaza's medical facilities have caused particular concern throughout the conflict, including Israeli raids on hospitals in other cities, shelling in the vicinity of hospitals and the targeting of ambulances.

As massive bombardment destroyed swathes of residential districts and forced most people from their homes, hospitals quickly became the focus for displaced people seeking shelter around buildings they thought more likely to be safe.

The Israeli military said on Thursday it had apprehended a number of suspects at the Nasser Hospital and that its operations there were continuing.

Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza spokesperson Ashraf al Qidra said Israel had forced doctors at Nasser hospital to abandon patients in intensive care there, putting their lives in danger.

Videos that Reuters verified on Thursday as having been filmed inside Nasser Hospital showed scenes of chaos and terror.

Men walked through dark corridors using the lights from their phones, with plaster dust swirling around and debris lying in the corridors, at one point wheeling a bed through a damaged area.

At one point in a video gunshots rang out and a doctor shouted "Is there anyone still inside? There is gunfire, there is gunfire — heads down".


Source: TRT