NewsOver 170 Palestinians killed amid fierce clashes near Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital

Over 170 Palestinians killed amid fierce clashes near Gaza's Al‑Shifa hospital

Israel continues operation in the Gaza Strip
Israel continues operation in the Gaza Strip
Images source: © Getty Images | Amir Levy

10:07 PM EDT, March 23, 2024

Since Monday, intense fighting has erupted around the Al-Shifa hospital complex in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokesperson announced on Saturday that over 170 Palestinian individuals, described as terrorists, have lost their lives in these confrontations.

"The army and intelligence forces are conducting precise operations in the vicinity of the Shifa hospital, focusing on minimizing casualties among civilians, patients, and staff, while also protecting medical equipment," stated the military spokesperson. Around 800 individuals have been detained for interrogation, including members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 and is recognized as a terrorist organization by many countries, maintains that its fighters engaged in combat near the hospital but not within the facility itself, asserting that the deceased were unintentionally killed civilians. The surrounding buildings of the medical facility have been leveled.

According to Reuters, based on interviews with local residents, these buildings were demolished by the Israeli military. The health department of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip reported that five patients, unable to receive necessary care, passed away in the hospital.

The Hamas press office, as mentioned by The New Arab portal, stated that the Israeli military has urged civilians to vacate the hospital and its surrounding area.

Hundreds of thousands still in the Gaza Strip

Since the onset of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, triggered by a Hamas attack on Israel in October, the military has advised civilians to evacuate the densely populated northern segments of the Palestinian enclave. Despite these warnings, it is believed that around 300,000 individuals have chosen to stay.

The Israeli army made its initial entry into the grounds of the Al-Shifa hospital in November 2023. During this operation, tunnels and hideouts beneath the hospital premises were uncovered. In close proximity, authorities found the body of an Israeli hostage, who had been taken by attackers on October 7, along with the vehicle used during the assault. Unfortunately, no living hostages were discovered.

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