At least 12 more people were reported to have been killed in Israeli strikes since Monday morning after Israeli forces surrounded Indonesian Hospital in Gaza – the fourth hospital to come under Israeli forces’ attack since October 7.
Quoting a journalist based in Gaza, Ismail Al Ghoul, Al Jazeera reported that Israeli forces were shooting whoever was trying to leave the hospital, adding that “the situation in the hospital is catastrophic”.
The journalist further told Al Jazeera that the hospital was full of people; sheltering more than 6,000, including staff and patients.
“It has been difficult to transfer patients from northern Gaza because Israeli forces are targeting anyone that approaches the area,” the journalist informed.
In more updates from the Indonesian Hospital, Munner al-Bursh, General Manager of the Health Ministry in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that, “Israeli forces are continuing to attack the hospital.” He said the attack started in the middle of the night and “targeted the surgical department, wounding the doctors working there and killing 12 civilians who were taking refuge”.
Al-Bursh said the Israeli forces “then targeted people who were leaving the hospital by shooting them near the hospital. Their bodies are still lying on the ground and nobody has been able to bury them”.
According to Al-Jazeera, the al-Kuwait UN school was burned down by the Israeli forces, adding that there were no reports so far of the death toll of the people sheltering in the school.
“In addition to around 700 patients and 5,000 refugees before the attack, there were 10,000 people in the shelter centres around the hospital,” Al Jazeera reported.
Palestinian medics transport injured youths to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AFP
“We are using a small power generator that is run by vegetable oil, manufactured by some creative individuals, who sacrificed some of their food supply to run the generator,” the hospital’s general manager said.
Al Jazeera’s Anas al-Sharif described the scenes inside Indonesian Hospital as “chaotic”.
The reporter went around different floors of the hospital to report that “there is an overwhelming state of panic among patients”.
He said the hospital was now “besieged” by Israeli forces, and anyone moving outside was a target.
Jabalia refugee camp strikes
Israeli troops were “expanding” their operation in the Gaza Strip Monday, as Qatari mediators said they were inching closer to a deal to free some of the 240 hostages held by Hamas militants, AFP reported.
The Palestinian health authority says the death toll from Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground operations in Gaza has reached 13,000, thousands of them children.
Israel has warned residents of Gaza’s largest refugee camp Jabalia and a nearby coastal camp to evacuate, as the military said Sunday it was “expanding its operational activities in additional neighbourhoods… of the Gaza Strip.”
After intense bombardment, an AFP journalist in Gaza saw columns of smoke rising from Jabalia on Sunday.
A health official said more than 80 people were killed in twin strikes on Jabalia , including on a UN school sheltering displaced people.
Social media videos verified by AFP showed bodies covered in blood and dust on the floor of a building, where mattresses had been wedged under school tables.
Israel’s military has claimed Jabalia is among the areas of focus as they “target terrorists and strike Hamas infrastructure”.
Without mentioning the strikes, the Israeli army said “an incident in the Jabalia region” was under review.
UN rights chief Volker Turk on Sunday condemned the purported strike on the school as “horrifying”, adding that “the horrendous events of the past 48 hours in Gaza beggar belief.”
On Monday, Palestinian news agency Wafa said the Indonesian hospital near Jabalia had also come under shelling.
‘Stop humanitarian disaster’
Six weeks into the war, Israel is facing intense international pressure to justify its bloody toll.
Israel officials have warned a “window of legitimacy” for the war to rout Hamas may be closing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday called for urgent action to stop the “humanitarian disaster” unfolding in Gaza.
“The situation in Gaza affects all countries around the world, questioning the human sense of right and wrong and humanity’s bottom line,” Wang told visiting diplomats from Arab and Muslim-majority nations.
Israel on Sunday presented what it claimed was evidence Hamas fighters used Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, to hide foreign hostages and to mask underground tunnels.
The Israeli military released what was claimed to be CCTV footage from October 7 of two male hostages from Nepal and Thailand being brought into the hospital.
“We have not yet located both of these hostages,” army spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.
One clip showed a man in shorts and a pale blue shirt being dragged into an entrance hall by five men, at least three of whom were armed.
In a second clip, an injured man in underwear is wheeled in on a gurney by armed men as several others wearing blue hospital scrubs look on. AFP could not immediately verify the footage.
Israel also accused the Palestinian resistance group of executing a 19-year-old Israeli soldier Noa Marciano at Al-Shifa and presented images of what it claimed was a 55-metre-long underground tunnel under the hospital.
Israel has repeatedly claimed that Al-Shifa doubles as a base for Palestinian fighters, a charge Hamas and hospital administrators deny.
The World Health Organization has called the hospital a “death zone”. Over the weekend, hundreds of people fled Al-Shifa hospital on foot as loud explosions were heard around the complex.
Columns of sick and injured were seen leaving with displaced people, doctors and nurses. At least 15 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, were strewn along the route, an AFP journalist said.
The WHO on Sunday said it evacuated thirty-one premature babies from the facility.
Al-Shifa head of surgery Marwan Abu Sada told AFP that Israeli troops were still in the hospital and it was surrounded by tanks.
“I heard at least two explosions since this morning,” he said Sunday.
A Palestinian woman walks on building rubble following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AFP
Other doctors said the troops were going from building to building and detonated explosives on the ground floors and hospital basements searching for Hamas tunnels.
The bodies of two female hostages were recovered in Gaza this week, the Israeli military claimed. Four abductees have so far been released by Hamas and a fifth rescued by troops.
On Sunday, Qatari mediators said they were inching closer to a deal to free some of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Qatar’s prime minister said efforts to bring hostages “safely back to their homes” in return for a temporary ceasefire was now within reach, raising hopes that Israeli, Nepali, American or other captives could soon be free.
“I’m now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, adding that only “minor” practical details remained unresolved.
The hostages include infants, teens and pensioners. Their fate has racked not just their families but the Israeli public at large.
US deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told US media that negotiators were “closer than we have been in quite some time” to securing a deal.
But he added: “The mantra that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed really does apply.”
In London, the teary father of missing 9-year-old Emily Hand begged for her to be brought home.
“There’s just a big, big hole in all our hearts that won’t be filled until she comes home again,” he told AFP.