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Israel launches military operation at Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital

Flagrant violation of international humanitarian law: Gaza Health Ministry
10:51 AM Mar 18, 2024 IST | ANI
israel launches military operation at gaza s al shifa hospital
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Gaza City, March 18: Israel's military has initiated a targeted operation within limited areas of Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, citing intelligence indicating the presence of senior Hamas operatives using the facility to coordinate attacks against Israel.

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Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Spokesperson RAdm said in the wee hours of Monday that the operation is a response to concrete intelligence requiring immediate action, emphasising that the objective is to combat Hamas militants rather than harm civilians.

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"We know that senior Hamas terrorists have regrouped inside the al-Shifa hospital and are using it to command attacks against Israel," said RAdm Hagari.

He further emphasised that the operation is conducted with precision and care to minimize civilian casualties. The IDF has deployed Arabic speakers and medical personnel to aid patients within the hospital compound and is providing humanitarian assistance to civilians.

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"While there is no obligation for patients and medical staff to evacuate the hospital, a pathway is available for civilians seeking to leave," RAdm Hagari stated. He called on Hamas militants to surrender, underscoring that medical facilities should never be exploited for terrorist activities.

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"Medical facilities should never be exploited for terror. Hamas must be held accountable," Hagari concluded his short video message, posted by IDF on X.

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Meanwhile, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza released a statement on the ongoing Israeli operation, saying, "We hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients and displaced people inside the al-Shifa Medical Complex," according to Al Jazeera.

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"What the occupation forces are doing is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. The Israeli occupation is still using its fabricated narratives to deceive the world and justify the storming of the al-Shifa Medical Complex," the statement added.

Footage verified by Al Jazeera's Sanad verification unit saw dozens of Palestinians fleeing Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital after Israeli forces launched an operation in the area.

Israeli forces opened fire inside the medical complex in northern Gaza City, causing deaths and injuries. The report also said that a fire broke out in a surgical building at the al-Shifa Hospital due to Israeli bombing.

The Israeli military is also ordering everyone via loudspeakers to evacuate the hospital, while shots have been fired inside the complex, causing deaths and injuries, Al Jazeera reported.

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