Muhammad Abu Salmiya, the director of the Gaza Strip’s main hospital raided by Israeli soldiers, says the facility has now run out of oxygen and water, and patients “are screaming from thirst”.
He said the conditions were “tragic” in Al-Shifa hospital, where there were more than 650 patients, 500 medical staff and 5,000 displaced people.
Israeli tanks were surrounding the hospital in Gaza City, Abu Samlmiya said, with drones buzzing overhead and Israeli soldiers still moving around inside, as their search of the complex lasted a second day.
Israel’s army said its operation against Hamas was proceeding in a “discreet, methodical and thorough manner”.
Since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched their raid on Al-Shifa on November 15, they have released several photos and videos of what they say are Hamas weapons and equipment.
On November 16, they said they had found an “operational tunnel shaft and a vehicle containing a large number of weapons”.
Muhammad Abu Salmiya said Israeli troops had blown up Al-Shifa’s main water line.
“Sniping operations continue, no-one can move from one building to another, and we have lost communication with our colleagues,” he said.
Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry reports that Israeli bulldozers “destroyed parts of the southern entrance” of the medical complex.
Israel launched a major military campaign in the Gaza Strip to destroy Hamas in retaliation for the October 7 cross-border attack by hundreds of gunmen. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group, as does the US and European Union.
At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s assault on Israel and about 240 others were taken hostage.
Since Israel started its counter-attack, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has said at least 11,400 people have been killed in the territory and the UN has warned of a “humanitarian disaster”.
On November 16, the IDF announced that the body of one of the hostages had been found near Al-Shifa.
The IDF identified the victim as Yehudit Weiss, saying she had been kidnapped from her home in Be’eri – a kibbutz in southern Israel.
At the same time, there have been reports of a major phone and internet outage in Gaza believed to have been caused by telecom companies running out of fuel supplies.
The IDF said their soldiers were continuing their “complex” operation against Hamas at the hospital.
The official reiterated the IDF’s claim that there was a “well-hidden terrorist infrastructure in the complex”.
Hamas has repeatedly denied that its fighters have been operating inside the hospital.
On November 16, Osama Hamdan, the most senior Hamas leader in Lebanon, ridiculed the Israeli weapons claims, saying that all the arms had been brought in and planted in the hospital by Israelis.
The Israeli government has not commented on Osama Hamdan’s allegation.
In a separate development, Israel has dropped dropped leaflets in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza, warning people in four towns to evacuate their homes and head to shelters.
If that is an indication of an upcoming military operation around the southern city of Khan Younis, it could be a real concern to the hundreds of thousands now sheltering there.
Before the war, Khan Younis was home to about 300,000 people – a number that has now grown to one million after Israel urged civilians to move south for their safety.
Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “continue to respond forcefully” to rocket attacks as conflict with Palestinians in Gaza enters a seventh day.
Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed at least three Palestinians early on May 16, health officials said.
Palestinian militants fired rockets towards Tel Aviv, causing people there to flee to bomb shelters.
The international community has called for an end to the escalating conflict.
On May 15, President Joe Biden phoned PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express concern about the situation.
A UN Security Council meeting is set to take place later on May 16.
Since the fighting began on May 10 at least 148 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian officials, and Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children. Israel says dozens of militants are among the dead in Gaza, while Palestinian health officials say their death toll includes 41 children.
Speaking in a TV address late on May 15, PM Netanyahu said the strikes would continue for “as long as necessary” and that everything possible was being done to limit civilian casualties.
“The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it’s those attacking us,” he said.
The flare-up of violence over the last six days came after weeks of increasing Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem, which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas – the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza – began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.
Ten members of one family were killed by an Israeli air strike at a refugee camp west of Gaza City.
A five-month-old baby, Omar Al-Hadidi, was the only survivor, after his mother, four siblings, aunt and four cousins died.
The baby’s father, Mohammad Al-Hadidi, was not at home at the time.
“There were no rockets there, just women and children, no rockets, just peaceful children celebrating [Muslim festival] Eid, what have they done to deserve this?” he told Reuters.
A doctor treating Omar said: “He was in a bad condition. His thigh bone is broken and he has bruises all over his body but thankfully after first inspection he is stable.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Palestinian militants had launched 278 rockets from Gaza, with homes hit in the southern cities of Ashdod, Beersheba and Sderot.
The IDF also said “many dozens” of rockets that crossed into Israel had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
A rocket hit a street in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, killing a man. He was reportedly hit by shrapnel in his apartment.
On May 15, an Israeli air strike destroyed a high-rise building housing media organizations, including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera, plus a number of offices and apartments.
In a statement released shortly afterwards, the Israeli military said the building had housed military assets belonging to Hamas. The building’s landlord has denied this.
UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres said he was “deeply disturbed” by the strike on the building.
“The secretary-general reminds all sides that any indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs,” his spokesman said.
The AP said the block had been hit roughly an hour after Israeli forces ordered people to evacuate.
The news organization’s CEO, Gary Pruitt, said: “This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.”
Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein has died after a confrontation with Israeli troops at a protest in the West Bank.
Ziad Abu Ein had died from complications related to tear gas exposure in the incident near the village of Turmusaya, doctors said.
Several witnesses said the minister had been hit and shoved by soldiers. One said he had been hit in the chest by a tear-gas canister fired by them.
The Israeli military (IDF) said it was looking into the reports.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for an “immediate and independent” investigation and said that reports of “excessive use of force” by Israel were “extremely worrying.”
A statement released by the IDF said its forces had “halted the progress of rioters into the civilian community of Adei-Ad using riot-dispersal means”.
“The IDF is reviewing the circumstances of the participation of Ziad Abu Ein, and his later death,” it added.
Following the incident dozens of Palestinians have gathered at the spot near Turmusaya setting fire to tires and throwing rocks at security forces, Voice of Israel radio station reported.
The radio also said that Israel has proposed to set up a joint team with the Palestinians to investigate the death with experts from Israel and Jordan to attend a post-mortem examination.
In recent weeks, 10 Israelis and an Ecuadorean have been killed by Palestinians in a series of attacks. Thirteen Palestinians have also been killed, among them several of the assailants.
Ziad Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio, was among dozens of foreign and Palestinian activists taking part in a protest against land confiscations.
They had planned to plant olive tree saplings on a patch of land near the Jewish settlement of Shiloh, which Palestinians believe has been earmarked for annexation by Israel.
In the course of the protest, they came into confrontation with a group of about 15 Israeli soldiers.
Leading Palestinian activist Mahmoud Aloul, who was also at the protest, told the Associated Press news agency that the soldiers had fired tear gas and had beaten some of the activists with rifle butts.
At one point, Ziad Abu Ein was hit by a tear gas canister, Mahmoud Aloul said.
The Reuters photographer said he had seen Ziad Abu Ein being struck by a hand on the neck during an altercation with two soldiers.
An AFP news agency photographer said the minister had been hit in the chest.
Photos of the incident showed Ziad Abu Ein lying unconscious before he was taken away in an ambulance. He died before reaching hospital in the nearby city of Ramallah.
There are reports that Ziad Abu Ein had a health condition that may have contributed to his death.
Condemning “the brutal assault” on Ziad Abu Ein as a “barbaric act”, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas promised to take unspecified measures and declared three days of mourning.
A senior Palestinian official said the Palestinian Authority would halt security co-ordination with Israel.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that she was “outraged” by the minister’s death.
“It’s extremely sad that a colleague and an old friend has been killed in such a cruel way” she said.
“Ziad was guilty of nothing more than planting olive trees where Israel would uproot trees.”
Ziad Abu Ein once received the death sentence, commuted to life imprisonment, from a court in Israel for a 1979 bombing that killed two Israeli teenagers. He was released in 1985 as part of a prisoner exchange that saw the release of three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon.
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