December 10, 2023

(CNN) — Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, has develop into a flashpoint in Israel’s warfare within the enclave, which started when Hamas militants crossed the border into Israel on October 7, killing round 1,200 folks.

Palestinians and humanitarian companies say the present preventing in and round Al-Shifa is proof of Israel’s wanton disregard for civilian life in Gaza, whereas Israel accuses Hamas of utilizing the medical middle as a protect for its operations.

On high of offering medical care, the hospital has been a key shelter for Palestinian civilians fleeing Israeli bombardment in Gaza.

Since launching its operation at Al-Shifa this week, the Israel Protection Forces (IDF) claimed it discovered a tunnel shaft and navy tools, however has but to indicate proof of the large-scale command and management middle it alleges is there. Hamas denies the allegations. CNN has not verified the claims of both Israel or Hamas.

Right here’s what we all know thus far.

What does Israel say?

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of working from tunnels beneath the huge advanced of Al-Shifa hospital.

In a presentation to the media final month, Israeli navy spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that Hamas was directing rocket assaults and commanding operations from bunkers beneath the hospital constructing, which he stated have been linked to the community of tunnels that Hamas had dug beneath Gaza Metropolis.

The IDF additionally printed an “intelligence-based” illustrated video of what it claims the Hamas headquarters below Al-Shifa seems like. The video exhibits a 3D diagram of the hospital, which strikes to indicate an animated community of purported tunnels and operation rooms.

CNN can not independently confirm Israel’s claims that Hamas is working from the hospital.

The White Home has backed Israel’s claims, saying that Hamas was storing weapons and working a command node from the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, citing US intelligence.

Senior US officers have declined a number of occasions to broaden on how they’re able to again up Israel’s claims, because the US doesn’t have a presence on the bottom in Gaza.

How has Hamas responded?

Israel’s claims have been vehemently denied by Hamas, the Gaza Well being Ministry, and hospital officers.

The director common of the Hamas-controlled well being ministry, Dr. Medhat Abbas, advised CNN that hospitals within the enclave “are used to deal with sufferers solely” and aren’t getting used “to cover anybody.”

After Israel launched its offensive, Hamas accused the US of giving Israel “a inexperienced mild … to commit extra massacres in opposition to civilians” by amplifying what it referred to as a “false narrative” {that a} militant command middle lies someplace inside Al-Shifa.

What proof has Israel given?

After launching the raid on Wednesday, Israel stated troopers had situated a room within the hospital the place they discovered, “technological property, together with navy and fight tools utilized by Hamas.”

“In one other division within the hospital, the troopers situated an operational command middle and technological property belonging to Hamas,” the assertion stated, claiming “that the terrorist group makes use of the hospital for terrorist functions.”

Hamas has rejected each findings as “baseless lies.”

The our bodies of two Israeli hostages – a 65-year-old girl and an Israeli soldier – have been additionally discovered close to the neighborhood of Al-Shifa hospital this week, Israel’s navy stated.

To bolster its claims that Hamas has a management middle below the hospital, Israel’s navy launched video displaying a tunnel shaft within the grounds of Al-Shifa. Within the footage, the shaft seems to be strengthened with concrete. Uncovered pipes and cabling will also be seen near the floor. CNN can not independently confirm what the tunnel is used for, and the IDF is but to supply clear proof that the shaft has a navy objective.

Israel says it’s nonetheless working to reveal tunnel infrastructure and added it’ll present additional proof in a “few weeks.”

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus claimed cellular objects like weapons might have simply been eliminated earlier than Israeli forces arrived. One other official stated troopers on the hospital advanced have been “continuing one constructing at a time, looking out every flooring.”

CNN evaluation of footage printed on-line by the IDF previous to visits from worldwide media retailers suggests weaponry at Al-Shifa might have been rearranged.

An IDF video on November 15 exhibits Conricus touring the power, throughout which an AK-47 gun is seen behind an MRI machine. Fox Information and the BBC have been subsequently granted entry to the hospital. Of their experiences filmed after the IDF clip, two AK-47 weapons are seen in the identical location. It’s unclear the place the second assault rifle got here from. CNN has reached out to the IDF for clarification.

‘Youngsters are ravenous’

Israel’s assault on Al-Shifa has compounded a grim humanitarian disaster contained in the advanced, Palestinian well being officers have stated.

No less than 41 sufferers, together with three untimely infants, misplaced their lives at Al-Shifa Hospital between November 11 and November 16 as a result of lack of electrical energy amid Israel’s gas blockade, based on a report printed by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Well being in Ramallah on Friday citing medical sources from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

A lot of the ICU sufferers who relied on ventilators have died as a result of lack oxygen and gas to energy the hospital’s generator, Dr. Ahmad Mofeed Al-Mokhalalati, the pinnacle of the burns division at Al-Shifa Hospital advised Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera over the telephone from contained in the hospital on Friday.

Dr. Al-Mokhalalati had famous a major lower within the variety of untimely infants of their care with little hope for the survival of the remaining infants given the more and more troublesome circumstances.

“There isn’t any water or electrical energy in the principle buildings of the compound,” he stated.

Surgical operations have come to a halt as a result of lack of electrical energy. This has led to a rise in struggling, particularly amongst youngsters who at the moment are dealing with extreme intestinal infections, a direct consequence of the unavailability of unpolluted water, Dr. Al-Mokhalalati added.

He talked about that though the Israeli forces promised to offer meals, the provision delivered was grossly inadequate, sufficient for less than 40% of these contained in the hospital.

On Thursday, Mohammad Abu Salmiya, the director of Al-Shifa, spoke of determined circumstances inside the hospital affecting over 650 wounded folks, 36 untimely infants, 45 kidney sufferers, and 5,000 displaced folks.

In a telephone interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic from contained in the hospital, Abu Salmiya stated youngsters have been ravenous, particularly those that are nonetheless depending on milk for sustenance.

“The kids are ravenous, and right here I imply the displaced youngsters as a result of they want milk and there’s no water to make formulation for them,” Abu Salmiya stated.

Abu Salmiya reported the loss of life of a kidney affected person, with 4 others on the point of loss of life on account of crucial circumstances and the absence of dialysis for days. He accused the “Israeli occupation” of besieging the hospital, sabotaging sections, and roaming inside its premises.

The hospital is dealing with a extreme scarcity of important provides, the director added.

Abu Salmiya passionately referred to as for pressing world intervention to avert the upcoming tragedy, emphasizing that each passing minute and hour ends in extra deaths.

United Nations calls for entry

The United Nations’ human rights chief has referred to as on Israel to provide his crew entry to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza Metropolis, after Israel’s navy launched video of what it referred to as a Hamas “operational tunnel shaft” within the advanced’s grounds, a declare instantly rejected by the militant group and Al-Shifa medical directors as “ridiculous.”

Volker Türk, the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, referred to as on Israel to grant his crew entry to Gaza to research competing claims about Al-Shifa Hospital.

“We have to look into this by having entry. We can not depend on one or the opposite social gathering relating to this,” Volker Türk, the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, advised CNN’s Becky Anderson when requested about allegations by the Israeli navy that Hamas was hiding weapons on the hospital.

He stated the scenario wants an “impartial worldwide investigation, as a result of we have now totally different narratives.”

“You can’t use civilian, particularly hospitals, for any navy functions. However you additionally can not assault a hospital within the absence of clear proof,” Türk added.

The sprawling medical facility of Al-Shifa, which sits within the western a part of Gaza Metropolis, was in-built 1946 when Gaza was nonetheless below British rule. It has lengthy been seen because the spine of medical companies throughout the besieged Gaza Strip, and has been hit in earlier Hamas-Israel conflicts.

It is a creating story and might be up to date.

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