Heavy fighting has broken out around a hospital in northern Gaza, where thousands of patients and displaced people have sought shelter. This latest assault comes as Israeli forces target medical facilities that they allege Hamas militants are using as cover. The Indonesian Hospital, which was struck by a shell on its second floor, has reported at least 12 casualties. The Israeli military has not yet provided a comment.
This attack follows the World Health Organization’s evacuation of 31 premature babies from the largest hospital in Gaza City, the Shifa Hospital, where over 250 critically ill or wounded patients were left stranded after Israeli forces entered the compound.
The struggle for Gaza’s hospitals has become a focal point in the battle over the narrative of the conflict, with Israel claiming that Hamas uses civilians as human shields, while critics argue that Israel’s siege and relentless bombardment amount to collective punishment of the Palestinian population.
Marwan Abdallah, a medical worker at the Indonesian Hospital, described the situation as dire. He revealed that Israeli tanks were operating merely 200 meters from the hospital, with snipers positioned on nearby rooftops. Abdallah relayed that the hospital had received numerous casualties from airstrikes and shelling overnight. Both medical staff and displaced individuals fear that Israel will lay siege to the hospital and force its evacuation.
The United Nations was able to safely evacuate critically ill babies from the Shifa Hospital to a hospital in southern Gaza, with plans to eventually transfer them to a hospital in Egypt. Unfortunately, four other babies died before the evacuation could take place. The Shifa Hospital, suffering from a lack of water, medical supplies, and fuel for emergency generators in the midst of a territory-wide blackout, is still housing around 250 patients with severe infections and urgent medical conditions.
The Israeli army claims to have obtained strong evidence in support of its assertions that Hamas utilized the hospital’s expansive complex as a command post. They released a video showcasing a tunnel discovered beneath the hospital, complete with a staircase and a firing hole, which, according to the military, could have been used by gunmen. The tunnel leads to a blast-proof door, which Israeli troops have not yet opened.
Though the Associated Press has been unable to independently verify Israel’s findings, the military also alleges that two foreign hostages, one Thai and one Nepalese, captured by Hamas during their October 7 attack, were taken to the hospital. Israeli army Cpl. Noa Marciano, whose body was recovered in Gaza, was allegedly injured in an Israeli strike on November 9 that killed her captor. She was then reportedly killed by a Hamas militant inside Shifa Hospital. Hamas has denied these allegations of a command post beneath the hospital.
Since the beginning of the war, Israel has repeatedly ordered Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza and take refuge in the south, resulting in approximately three-quarters of Gaza’s population being displaced. Nearly 1.7 million people are currently sheltering in crowded U.N.-run shelters. According to Doctors Without Borders, over 70 people were killed and at least 52 wounded, including children, in strikes on Khan Younis. The Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis is overwhelmed by burn victims, performing around 10 burn surgeries each day, while many others are still waiting for care.
According to Palestinian health authorities, over 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, with an additional 2,700 believed to be buried under the rubble. The exact breakdown between civilians and combatants is unknown. Israel claims the majority of those killed are militants. On the Israeli side, around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, have been killed since the beginning of the war, with 65 Israeli soldiers also losing their lives in ground operations.
In a disturbing development, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea, taking 25 crew members hostage. This action raises concerns that the tensions from the conflict are spilling over into the maritime domain. The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have stated that they will continue to target ships connected to Israel. The Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader, operated by a Japanese company, had crew members from various countries, including the Philippines, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Mexico.
1. Why are Israeli forces targeting hospitals in Gaza?
Israeli forces claim that Hamas militants are using hospitals as cover. They maintain that these facilities have become command posts for the militants.
2. How many casualties were there at the Indonesian Hospital?
At least 12 people were killed by a shell that struck the second floor of the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza.
3. What is the situation at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City?
The Shifa Hospital is facing a shortage of water, medical supplies, and fuel for its emergency generators. Over 250 patients with severe infections and urgent medical conditions are still waiting for care.
4. How many Palestinians and Israelis have been killed in the conflict?
According to Palestinian health authorities, over 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, with an additional 2,700 believed to be buried under the rubble. On the Israeli side, approximately 1,200 people, mainly civilians, have been killed.
– [Hamas official website](https://hamas.gov.ps)
– [Israeli Defense Forces](https://www.idf.il)