Israeli forces raided Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for a second day, entering the medical complex from the southern part.
“The situation at al-Shifa Hospital is indeed very dire,” Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum told Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Thursday morning.
The center houses thousands of patients, medical staff and displaced Palestinians who, according to witnesses, are unable to leave.
“Reports indicate that Israeli bulldozers and tanks entered the hospital complex, destroying the wall of the facility. Doctors and other medical workers were also reportedly interrogated,” Abu Azzoum said.
Israeli tanks and soldiers entered Al-Shifa for the first time on Wednesday morning in what they called a “targeted” operation, after days of encircling and bombarding the facility.
Israel says al-Shifa is being used as a command center for Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, but has not provided evidence to support the claims.
Hamas denies the accusations and has asked the United Nations to send investigators to check the truth.
“It’s a civilian hospital. There is no Hamas member at al-Shifa hospital,” Mohammed Zaqout, director general of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera. “There is no military activity in Al-Shifa. “Everything that happened around the hospital, but inside the hospital itself, all the people were civilians.”
“Blindfolded and Interrogated”
Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, as reported by Khan Younis, said that more than 24 hours after the first raid, Israeli soldiers had “provided no evidence” linking the hospital to Hamas.
“Unfortunately, this lack of confirmation only resulted in massive destruction in the hospital and renewed attacks on its building and the deployment of soldiers at the hospital gates from all sides,” he added.
The building of specialist offices was damaged from the inside, Israeli soldiers blew up a warehouse of medicines and medical equipment located in the hospital, and witnesses testified that “about 200 people were blindfolded, interrogated and taken to unknown places,” Mahmoud reports.
“All this is happening under heavy cover of airstrikes and tank shells around Al-Shifa Hospital and central Gaza.”
Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, described the Israeli invasion of al-Shifa as the “mother of all scandals” and questioned why the Israeli army said it had to occupy hospitals “for days” to find evidence.
“In the process, they endangered the lives of hospital patients [and] hospital staff,” Barghouti told Al Jazeera from Ramallah.
The United States continues to promote the Israeli narrative that Al-Shifa is being used by Hamas as a “military command,” but denies giving Israel the green light for the raid. President Joe Biden also asked Israel to exercise “extreme caution” in its actions at Al-Shifa.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday evening calling for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza, but Israel rejected it.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said the resolution “would have no meaning,” calling it “out of touch with reality.”
On Thursday, the Israeli army said it raided the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza because it “frequently served as a meeting place for senior Hamas leaders to direct terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians” and Israeli soldiers.
Reports of deaths were reported across the Strip overnight as Israeli forces struck other locations in northern and central Gaza, including two apartment buildings in the Nuserat refugee camp.
The UN said there was only one hospital left in northern Gaza that could accept patients.
Israeli attacks on Gaza continue for the 41st consecutive day, after Hamas fighters entered Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people. Since then, Israel has killed more than 11,300 Palestinians in Gaza.