- The Israeli military said early Wednesday its forces had entered Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital.
- Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using the facility for cover.
- Doctors at the hospital have pleaded in recent days for assistance amid failing power.
The Israeli military says its forces have entered Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, the site of a lengthy standoff.
The army has surrounded the facility as part of its ground offensive against Hamas. Israeli authorities claim the militant group conceals military operations in the facility. But with hundreds of patients and medical personnel inside, it has refrained from entering.
Early Wednesday, the army said its forces were carrying out “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” in the hospital. It gave no further details but said it was taking steps to avoid harm to civilians.
“In recent weeks, the IDF has publicly warned time and again that Hamas’ continued military use of the Shifa Hospital jeopardizes its protected status under international law,” Israel Defense Forces said.
“Yesterday, the IDF conveyed to the relevant authorities in Gaza once again that all military activities within the hospital must cease within 12 hours. Unfortunately, it did not.”
Hamas has denied the Israeli accusations that it uses the hospital for cover.
Doctors this week have pleaded for assistance amid failing power at the hospital.
“We don’t have electricity. There’s no water in the hospital. There’s no food. People will die in a few hours without functioning ventilators,” a doctor with the international humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders said in a Monday statement.
Al Shifa Hospital is one of at least four major hospitals in Gaza that have been forced to the front line of fighting in recent days.
International organizations have warned of crises at multiple medical facilities, including Al Shifa, which is the biggest hospital in Gaza City.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US has unspecified intelligence that Hamas and other Palestinian militants use Shifa and other hospitals and tunnels underneath them to support military operations and hold hostages.
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