The Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been breached by the Israeli Defense Force, according to sources in the region. The IDF took to twitter to explain that it was conducting a precise and targeted operation in certain sections of the hospital compound with the intention of rooting out Hamas operatives.
The update came with in an hour of Gaza’s Health Officials announcing that the IDF would be raiding the compound “within minutes”.
Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Gaza Health Ministry, spoke to Al-Jazeera, saying that the IDF “informed us that it will raid Al Shifa hospital complex in the coming minutes.”
He went on to say that, “The occupation did not specify whether (its forces) would enter the complex. But it said that within a few minutes it would raid the complex. We do not know how it will raid it or what mechanism will be used, nor do we know (Israel’s) intentions with the raid.”
The IDF also took to twitter to clarify that following the occupation of the Hospital compound, they would continue to maintain a presence inside the premises and bring in medical equipment, incubators and baby food to assist in the hospitals functioning and ensuring the well being of those.
This comes following the death of 3 out of the 39 premature babies being housed in the hospital. It is presumed that they passed away as the hospital ran out of fuel to power its generators, which were keeping incubators operational despite the crisis unfolding around the compound.
According to Israeli forces, they had to enter the Al Shifa Hospital following a prolonged battle with Hamas in the area, as they are suspected of running a command post from within the hospital premises.
Israel’s assertions were substantiated when the United States provided intelligence supporting their claims.
UNSC makes 5th attempt at Israel-Hamas Resolution
In the back ground of the conflict in Gaza, the United Nations Security Council is making another attempt at bringing a resolution to the table which would bring a pause to the hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
A concerning fact is that the UNSC has made 4 such attempts previously and has failed miserably each time. The current version of the resolution seeks immediate and extended humanitarian pauses to allow much needed aid to be provided to the desperate civilians of Gaza.
The resolution also asks both sides to respect international humanitarian laws and ensure a ban on hostage taking, special protection for children and protection for civilians as well.
Having said that, reports suggest that as of now there is no mention of a ceasefire between the two parties. Since the negotiations are a private affair, details about the discussions are hard to confirm. Sources have stated though, that both parties are getting closer to a consensus and a vote could be conducted as soon as Wednesday.
Hamas’s response to the Al Shifa assault
Hamas has been quite vocal, leveling blame on US President Joe Biden, holding him ‘wholly responsible for the Israeli operation in Al Shifa Hospital.
While the IDF has claimed that it is not overrunning the hospital, Hamas has accused Israel of sending dozens of seasoned soldiers and commandos into the reception and emergency buildings.
Hamas has also pointed out that those trapped inside the hospital are experiencing a dearth of basic resources such as food, water and medical aid. Reports suggest that the situation has degraded to a point where invasive surgical procedures are being carried out without anaesthesia.
The IDF has said that the troops raiding the compound include Arabic speakers and medical teams which are well equipped to handle the situation. The IDF is also prepared to deal with Hamas operatives using patients and civilians as ‘human shields’.
The IDF’s objective is to minimize civilian casualties as they understand how sensitive the situation is inside the compound.
Hamas issued another statement saying, “The adoption by the White House and the Pentagon of the occupation’s false claim that the resistance is using the Al-Shifa medical complex for military ends has given the green light to the occupation to commit more massacres against civilians.”
Justin Trudeau speaks against Israeli offensive
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has delineated his perspective, which stands firmly against Israel’s approach. He has asked for the immediate cessation of the ‘killing of women, children and babies’ in Gaza.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has responded to this statement by saying that Hamas should be held accountable for the hostilities.
Trudeau said in a statement, “I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The world is watching, on TV, on social media – we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents.”
Netanyahu responded by saying, “It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.”
Following a phone call between the President of the United States, Joe Biden and PM Netanyahu, it has been agreed that the civilians and patients inside the Al Shifa Hospital have to be protected at all costs.