Dozens killed and injured in gunfire at Gaza hospital surrounded by Israeli tanks – Ministry of Health

  • Latest developments:
  • The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the situation at the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza.Palestinian news agency says it has been hit by shelling
  • At least 14 Palestinians killed in two Israeli airstrikes on homes in the southern town of Rafah near the Egyptian border

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Israeli tanks surrounded a hospital in northern Gaza, killing at least 12 Palestinians and wounding dozens after firing into the facility, health officials said on Monday. Announcement, during hostilities intensifying amid indications of a possible pause in fighting.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the situation at the Indonesian hospital, but health officials in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip said 700 patients and staff were under Israeli fire.

Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that a facility in Beit Lahia, a town in northeastern Gaza, was hit by shelling. Palestinian health officials said frantic efforts were being made to evacuate civilians from danger.

Hospital staff denied the presence of armed groups on the premises. Israel says its forces in the Gaza Strip are targeting “terrorist infrastructure” and accuses Hamas of waging war behind human shields such as hospitals, a charge the Islamist group denies. ing.

“We previously received information that tanks were surrounding an Indonesian hospital. Unfortunately… communications there are almost cut off,” said Nahed, director of Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Abu Taema told Reuters.

“We are extremely concerned about the fate of our colleagues, the injured and patients, and those who may still be evacuated. Ambulances cannot arrive and the injured may die. I’m worried,” Abu Theme said.

Like all other medical facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the Indonesian Hospital, established in 2016 with funding from Indonesian organizations, has ceased most operations but is still providing services to patients, staff and displaced residents. Protecting.

Israel has ordered a complete evacuation of the north, but thousands of civilians remain, many of them in hospitals. Under six weeks of Israeli siege, fuel and medicine are running low across the enclave.

Witnesses also said there was heavy fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli forces advancing on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, which is home to 100,000 people and which Israel says is an important militant stronghold. reported.

Palestinian doctors say numerous civilians have been killed by repeated Israeli shelling of Jabalia, an urban area of ​​Gaza City that grew out of a Palestinian refugee camp during the 1948 Israeli-Arab War.

At the other end of the Gaza Strip, health officials said two Israeli airstrikes killed at least 14 Palestinians in the town of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans who fled the northern enclave have taken refuge in southern areas, including Rafah.

The Israeli military issued a statement with footage of airstrikes and troops visiting homes in the Gaza Strip, saying it had killed three Hamas company commanders and a squad of Palestinian fighters, without specifying where. .

Despite continuing fighting, U.S. and Israeli officials are fighting to free some hostages held in the Palestinian enclave and allow relief supplies to be delivered to affected civilians. He said a Qatar-mediated agreement to temporarily suspend the deal was nearing.

Some 240 hostages were taken in a cross-border assault on Israel by Hamas militants on October 7, as Israel seeks to wipe out the Islamist movement after several inconclusive wars since 2007. invaded a small area of ​​Palestinian territory.

According to an Israeli tally, the Hamas attack killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, making it the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year history.

Since then, the Hamas-run Gaza government has announced that at least 13,000 Palestinians, including at least 5,500 children, have been killed by Israel’s relentless shelling.

The United Nations says two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are now homeless.

According to the Israeli military, Israeli tanks and troops entered Gaza late last month and have since occupied large areas in the north, northwest and east around Gaza City.

But Hamas and local witnesses say the insurgents are waging a guerrilla-style war in parts of the crowded and urbanized north, including parts of Gaza City and the vast Jabalia and Beach refugee camps. It is said that there is.

Militants from the Islamic Jihad militant group, allied with Hamas, destroyed seven Israeli military vehicles during clashes in the northern areas of Beit Hanun, Beit Lahia, al-Saftawi and in western Jabalia. They announced that they had been ambushed. Reuters could not independently confirm the fighting.

In Beijing, Arab and Islamic ministers joined an international call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and a delegation visited major world capitals to call for an end to the fighting and the provision of humanitarian aid to affected civilians. I asked for it.

Some aid is arriving via the Rafah commercial border with Egypt, and 40 trucks carrying equipment for an Emirati field hospital are expected to arrive soon, according to a statement from the Gaza Cross Borders Directorate. It is said that

Expectations for hostage release agreement

Despite continuing fighting on the ground in Gaza, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that Israel expects a significant number of hostages to be freed by Hamas “within days.” He said he was looking forward to it.

On Sunday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at a press conference in Doha that the main obstacles to a deal are currently “very minor” and mainly due to “practical and logistical” issues. said that there remains.

A White House official said “very complex and very sensitive” negotiations were progressing.

These coincided with Israel preparing to expand its offensive against Hamas into the southern half of Gaza by stepping up airstrikes on targets it views as militant hideouts.

But the United States, Israel’s main ally, warned on Sunday against launching combat operations in the south until military planners consider the safety of Palestinian civilians.

Since the start of the war, traumatized Gaza residents have sought refuge in hospitals, wandered north to south, and returned again in desperate efforts to escape the lines of fire.

Additional reporting: Klauda Tanios and Reuters Bureau Writing: Raju Gopalakrishnan and Mark Heinrich Editing: Peter Graf

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two countries.

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