April 19, 2024

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Gaza attacks, hostage situation and more

Gaza attacks, hostage situation and more

Last week, Israeli forces launched another military operation against al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, again targeting the sprawling medical center located north of the enclave.

Now in its 11th day, the operation is the second such operation at the hospital, located in the western part of northern Gaza City. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first raided al-Shifa in November, an operation that left the center's main building severely damaged and rendered virtually unserviceable.

The raid comes despite the IDF saying in January that it had completed dismantling the Hamas command structure in northern Gaza.

Although the IDF said civilians, patients and medical teams were evacuated during the operation, Palestinians in and around Al-Shifa reported civilian casualties and arrests, as well as large-scale destruction in the compound.

Israel, Hamas and civilians have also reported heavy fighting around the hospital, and United Nations officials have stressed that hospitals should not be battlefields.
Here's what we know:

Why are Israeli forces attacking al-Shifa again?

Israeli forces launched their most recent operation on March 18, saying they were carrying out “precision operational operations against terrorists” based in al-Shifa, a claim repeated in the November raid.

The IDF returned to al-Shifa, despite Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announcing in January that the most intense operations in northern Gaza had ended.

Addressing his troops in a video shared by the Ministry of Defense on March 26, Gallant praised the operation, saying the hospital had been reached “in the blink of an eye” and that Hamas operatives were still stationed at the hospital.The future: Surrender or die.”

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The Israeli military said it killed dozens during its 11-day operation this month, detaining hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters in and around the hospital.

The IDF said in an update on Wednesday that “around 200 terrorists have been destroyed in the hospital area since the start of the operation” around al-Shifa. The IDF also said that “terrorists fired at IDF forces from inside and outside the Shifa Hospital emergency room building.”

CNN cannot verify these figures.

Israel has said for years that Hamas militants seek refuge in mosques, hospitals and other civilian locations to avoid Israeli attacks. Hamas has repeatedly denied these claims.

Israeli officials have been repeating the allegations since October 7, after their first raid in November, when they took CNN to Gaza to see the mouth of a newly discovered tunnel in the al-Shifa hospital compound.

The evidence does not establish beyond doubt that a Hamas command center was located under the hospital, as Israel claimed.

Read the full memo here.