Iran warned that the scale of civilian suffering caused by Israel’s war on Hamas would inevitably lead to an extension of the conflict, as officials in Gaza reported Israeli airstrikes on or near several hospitals in the Palestinian enclave.
Palestinian officials said 10,812 Gazans had been killed since Thursday, about 40 percent of them children, in airstrikes and artillery. A humanitarian disaster has unfolded as basic supplies such as food and water run out and shelling displaces civilians from their homes.
The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian could raise concerns about whether Washington’s diplomatic efforts and the deployment of US naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean will be able to prevent the conflict from further destabilizing the Middle East.
“Due to the expansion of the intensity of the war against the civilians of Gaza, the expansion of the scope of the war has become inevitable,” Amir-Abdollahian told his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday evening.
Iran’s state broadcaster Press TV reported the comments, made during a telephone conversation, on Friday.
Israel’s bombardment and siege of Gaza last month has created a humanitarian disaster with thousands seeking medical treatment and shelter in the few hospitals that remain open, with those in the battle zone in grave danger.
“The Israeli occupation launched simultaneous raids on some hospitals in the last hours,” Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Kindra told Al Jazeera television.
Qidra said Israel targeted the courtyard of Al Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza City, and there were casualties, but did not give details.
Israel’s military did not immediately comment on Qidra’s statement.
Israel’s month-long military campaign has left Gaza’s hospitals struggling to cope as medical supplies, clean water and fuel for power generators have run out.
Gaza’s health ministry said 18 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals and 40 other health centers were out of service either due to shelling damage or fuel shortages.
Palestinian media released videos on Friday from Al Shifa, which they said showed the aftermath of an Israeli attack on a parking lot where displaced Palestinians were sheltering and journalists were watching.
A pool of blood could be seen next to the body of a man being placed on a stretcher.
“With ongoing strikes and fighting near (Al Shifa), we are gravely concerned about the welfare of thousands of civilians there, many children among them, who are seeking medical treatment and shelter,” Human Rights Watch said on its social media website X.
Qidra said Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital and Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital “witnessed a series of direct attacks and shelling” on Friday. He said strikes on the hospital grounds in Al-Rantisi set fire to vehicles but were partially extinguished.
Indonesia’s foreign ministry said on Friday that explosions near the Indonesian Hospital overnight damaged parts of the hospital, which is located on the northern edge of the narrow coastal enclave. It did not say who was responsible for the explosion and did not report any deaths or injuries.
“Indonesia once again condemns the brutal attacks against civilians and civilian objects, especially humanitarian facilities in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement.
US says Israel agrees to ceasefires
Israel’s military claims it has evidence that Hamas is using Al Shifa and other hospitals such as the Indonesian Hospital to hide command posts and entry points into an extensive tunnel network under Gaza. It says it does not target civilians and has allowed some wounded Palestinian civilians to cross into Egypt for treatment.
But Israel’s military advance into central Gaza City, which has brought tanks to within about 1.2 kilometers of Al Shifa, according to residents, has raised questions about how Israel will interpret international laws on the protection of the medical centers and the evacuees there.
Deadly airstrikes on refugee camps, a medical convoy and near hospitals have already sparked sharp disagreements among some of Israel’s Western allies over its military’s adherence to international law.
US President Joe Biden said in a post on X on Thursday that Israel has “an obligation to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and fully comply with international law”.
The White House said on Thursday that Israel had agreed to halt military operations in areas of northern Gaza for four hours a day, but there was no sign of the fighting abating.
The pauses, which would allow people to leave along two humanitarian corridors and could be used to free hostages, were important first steps, said White House National Security Press Secretary John Kirby.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that any pauses would be scattered, and there was no official confirmation of a plan for repeated breaks.
Asked if there would be a “cease” in the fighting, Netanyahu told Fox News: “No. The fighting continues against the enemy of Hamas, the terrorists of Hamas, but in certain locations for a given period of a few hours here or a few hours there, we want to facilitate the safe passage of civilians away from the combat zone and we are doing that.”
On the ground in northern Gaza, there were no reports of a lull in the fighting. Each side reported inflicting heavy casualties on the other in intense street fighting.
a href=”https://tribune.com.pk/story/2445752/iran-warns-expansion-of-gaza-war-inevitable-hospitals-come-under-new-israeli-attacks”>Source link