Israeli army withdraws from Gaza’s main hospital after 2-week raid - GulfToday

Israeli army withdraws from Gaza’s main hospital after 2-week raid


Palestinians inspect the damage outside Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew on Monday. AFP

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said on Monday the Israeli military had withdrawn tanks and vehicles from the complex housing the besieged territory's main hospital, Al-Shifa, days after the launch of a major operation on the site.

The ministry said dozens of bodies had been found at the complex, where an AFP journalist and eyewitnesses saw tanks and vehicles pulling out.

The Israeli military did not immediately confirm any pullout.

Eyewitnesses said dozens of air strikes and shells had hit the area around the complex.

The Hamas government media office said the Israeli air strikes had provided cover for the withdrawing vehicles.

Palestinians carry away a covered body as people gather to inspect the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital. AFP

The army launched its operation on March 18 and has described it as a "precise" one targeting Hamas fighters it accused of operating from the complex.

It has previously said 200 fighters had been killed in fighting in and around Al-Shifa.

The army has also released footage it claimed showed weapons and money seized from the hospital that had been used by Hamas and another group, Islamic Jihad.

Hamas has denied operating from Al-Shifa and other health facilities.

"Dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, have been recovered from in and around the Al-Shifa medical complex," the health ministry said in a statement.

A Palestinian checks the situation at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital on Monday. AFP

The Israeli military "withdrew from the Al-Shifa medical complex after burning down the complex buildings and putting it completely out of service", it said.

"The scale of the destruction inside the complex and the buildings around it is very large."

An AFP journalist on the scene said several buildings inside the complex had been damaged, with some areas showing damage from fire.

A doctor told AFP more than 20 bodies had been recovered and withdrawing vehicles had crushed that some.

With hundreds of thousands of Gazans displaced by the war, hundreds had sought refuge at the Al-Shifa complex prior to the operation.

Israeli troops first raided Al-Shifa in November, but said fighters had since returned.

Palestinians inspect the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital on Monday. AFP

Deadly air strikes pounded other areas of the Gaza Strip early Monday, while fighting raged in several flashpoints located across the territory.

At least 60 people died in Gaza during the night, the health ministry said Monday.

The war erupted when Hamas carried out its unprecedented attacks on Israel, which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Agence France-Presse


Related articles