Israeli military raids Gaza’s Shifa hospital, targeting Hamas

November 15, 2023

Israel said its military launched a “targeted” strike against Hamas inside Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, early Wednesday morning. 

On Sunday, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Shifa was “not functioning as a hospital any more” amid the Israel-Hamas war being waged in Gaza.

U.S. intelligence officials have said there’s evidence supporting Israel’s claim that Hamas is using civilians as human shields and civilian structures including hospitals as military bases.

And on Monday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released to journalists what it said was video of a man carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher at the entrance to Shifa hospital and aerial footage of what the IDF said was an RPG being launched at an IDF tank. “After the terrorists fired RPGs, they returned to hide in the hospital,” the IDF said.

On social media Wednesday, the IDF said in a statement, “A precise and targeted operation is being carried out against Hamas in a very specific area of the Shifa Hospital. We have soldiers trained specifically for this situation, and continue to reiterate we are ONLY at war with Hamas. We continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the risk to civilians.”

The IDF further asserted that Hamas’ continued use of Shifa for military operations “jeopardizes the hospital’s protected status under international law.”

With thousands of Palestinians reported to be sheltering inside the hospital, the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry proposed on Tuesday that Shifa be evacuated under the supervision of the Red Cross.

However, hundreds of staff and patients remained inside the hospital Wednesday. One doctor told CNN that they were given 30 minutes’ warning before the Israeli operation began. 

According to the Israeli military’s statement, “The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza.”

Amid the “ongoing” operation, though, IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner told CNN that the Israeli military had so far found no indication of hostages being held inside the Shifa hospital.

Gunfire was reportedly exchanged across the hospital yard, however, where Israeli tanks and other military vehicles had breached the courtyard.  

The IDF said the soldiers were accompanied by medical teams and were bringing in incubators. It shared footage of personnel unloading equipment along with dozens of boxes labeled in English, “medical supplies” and “baby food” inside the hospital compound.

PHOTO: Shifa hospital in Gaza, per UN.org

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