At least 12 more people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Monday morning after Israeli forces surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza – the fourth hospital to be attacked by Israeli forces since October 7.
Citing a Gaza-based journalist, Ismail Al Ghoul, Al Jazeera reported that Israeli forces were shooting anyone trying to leave the hospital, adding that “the situation in the hospital is catastrophic.”
The reporter said further Al Jazeera that the hospital was full of people; accommodating more than 6,000, including staff and patients.
“It was difficult to transport patients from northern Gaza because Israeli forces target anyone who approaches the area,” the reporter informed.
In more updates from the Indonesian Hospital, Munner al-Bursh, Director General of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that “Israeli forces continue to attack the hospital.” He said the attack began in the middle of the night and “targeted the surgical ward, injuring the doctors working there and killing 12 civilians who were taking refuge”.
Al Bours said Israeli forces “then targeted people leaving the hospital by shooting them near the hospital. Their bodies are still on the ground and nobody managed to bury them.”
According to Al-Jazeera, the UN school in al-Kuwait was burned by Israeli forces, adding that so far there are no reports of the death toll of the people housed in the school.
“In addition to about 700 patients and 5,000 refugees before the attack, there were 10,000 people in shelters around the hospital,” Al Jazeera reported.
Palestinian doctors take injured youths to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AFP
“We use a small electricity generator that runs on vegetable oil, made by some creative people, who sacrificed some of their food to run the generator,” said the hospital’s general manager.
Al Jazeera’s Anas al-Sharif described the scenes inside the Indonesian hospital as “chaotic”.
The reporter toured various floors of the hospital to report that “there is an overwhelming state of panic among the patients.”
He said the hospital was now “besieged” by Israeli forces and anyone who moved outside was a target.
Strikes in Jabalia refugee camp
Israeli troops “expanded” their operation in the Gaza Strip on Monday as Qatari mediators said they were nearing a deal to free some of the 240 hostages held by Hamas militants. AFP mentionted.
The Palestinian health authority says the death toll from Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza has reached 13,000, thousands of them children.
Israel warned residents of Gaza’s largest Jabalia refugee camp and a nearby coastal camp to evacuate as the army said Sunday it was “expanding its operational activities to additional neighborhoods… of the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas repeated the well-known act of installing “insurgent cargo” on an IDF Merkava Mk 4 tank during urban fighting in the Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/uQer3nF9mH
— Clash Report (@clashreport) November 19, 2023
After intense shelling, an AFP journalist in Gaza saw plumes of smoke rising from Jabalia on Sunday.
A health official said more than 80 people were killed in two raids in Jabalia, including a UN school housing displaced people.
Social media videos verified by AFP showed bodies covered in blood and dust on the floor of a building, where mattresses were wedged under school desks.
The Israeli military claimed that Jabalia is among the focus areas as they “target terrorists and strike Hamas infrastructure”.
Without mentioning the strikes, the Israeli military said “an incident in the Jabalia area” was under investigation.
UN rights chief Volker Turk on Sunday condemned the alleged school strike as “appalling”, adding that “the horrific events of the last 48 hours in Gaza are beliefs”.
On Monday, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that the Indonesian hospital near Jabalia had also been shelled.
“Stop the humanitarian disaster”
Six weeks after the war, Israel is facing intense international pressure to justify its bloody toll.
Israeli officials have warned that a “legality window” for the war to destroy Hamas may be closing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Monday for urgent action to stop the “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding in Gaza.
“The situation in Gaza affects all countries around the world, challenging the human sense of right and wrong and the essence of humanity,” Wang told visiting diplomats from Arab and Muslim nations.
Israel presented on Sunday what it claimed was evidence that Hamas militants used Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, to hide foreign hostages and cover underground tunnels.
The Israeli military has released what it claims is CCTV footage from October 7 of two male hostages from Nepal and Thailand being taken to hospital.
“We have not yet located these two hostages,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.
One clip showed a man in shorts and a pale blue shirt being dragged into an entrance by five men, at least three of whom were armed.
In a second video, an injured man in his underwear is wheeled away by armed men as several others wearing blue hospital scrubs look on. AFP could not immediately verify the video.
Israel also accused the Palestinian resistance group of executing a 19-year-old Israeli soldier Noa Marciano in Al-Shifa and released images of what it claimed was a 55-meter underground tunnel under the hospital.
Israel has repeatedly claimed that Al-Shifa doubles as a base for Palestinian militants, a charge Hamas and hospital administrators deny.
A video from Gaza shows the moment an Israeli strike destroys a mosque in Gaza.
A second video shows Israeli soldiers cheering and laughing as the mosque is destroyed pic.twitter.com/g0NFgQascY
— Clash Report (@clashreport) November 20, 2023
The World Health Organization has labeled the hospital a “death zone”. Over the weekend, hundreds of people fled Al-Shifa hospital on foot as loud explosions were heard around the compound.
Columns of sick and wounded were seen leaving with evacuees, doctors and nurses. At least 15 bodies, some in an advanced stage of decomposition, were strewn along the route, an AFP reporter said.
The WHO said on Sunday it had evacuated thirty-one premature babies from the facility.
Al-Shifa’s chief of surgery, Marwan Abu Sada, told AFP that Israeli soldiers were still at the hospital and that it was surrounded by tanks.
“I heard at least two explosions since this morning,” he said on Sunday.
A Palestinian woman walks on the rubble of a building after an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AFP
Other doctors said the soldiers went from building to building and detonated explosives on the ground and basement floors of hospitals looking for Hamas tunnels.
The bodies of two female hostages were recovered in Gaza this week, the Israeli military claimed. Four abductees have so far been released by Hamas and a fifth has been rescued by troops.
On Sunday, Qatari mediators said they were nearing a deal to free some of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Qatar’s prime minister said efforts to bring the hostages “safely back to their homes” in exchange for a temporary ceasefire were now possible, raising hopes that Israeli, Nepali, American or other captives could soon be freed.
“I am now more confident that we are close enough to reach an agreement,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, adding that only “minor” practical details remained unresolved.
The hostages include infants, teenagers and pensioners. Their fate has afflicted not only their families but also the wider Israeli public.
Deputy US national security adviser John Feiner told US media that negotiators were “closer than we’ve been in some time” to securing a deal.
But he added: “The mantra that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed really rings true.”
In London, the tearful father of missing 9-year-old Emily Hunt pleaded to be brought home.
“There’s just a big, big hole in all of our hearts that won’t be filled until he comes home,” she told AFP.
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