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Israel-Hamas War: Israeli Bombardment of Gaza City Forces Medical Facilities to Close

Israel-Hamas War: Israeli Bombardment of Gaza City Forces Medical Facilities to Close

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike on a school turned shelter in southern Gaza killed at least 25 Palestinians Tuesday, while heavy shelling in the north forced medical facilities in Gaza City to close and sent thousands fleeing in search of medical care. increasingly elusive refuge.

Israel’s new ground offensive on Gaza’s largest city represents its latest effort to combat Hamas militants regrouping in areas the military previously said had been largely cleared.

Large parts of Gaza City and the surrounding urban areas have been destroyed or reduced to a landscape of ruins after nine months of fighting. Many residents fled earlier in the war.But hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still live in the north.

“The fighting was intense,” said Hakim Abdel Bar, who fled from the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City to relatives in another part of the city. He said Israeli warplanes and drones were “hitting everything that moved” and that tanks had moved into central neighborhoods.

An Associated Press reporter who counted bodies at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis said the strike on the school entrance killed at least 25 people. Hospital spokesman Wiam Fares said the dead included at least seven women and children and that the death toll was likely to rise.

Earlier air strikes in central Gaza killed at least 14 people, including a woman and four children, according to two hospitals that received the bodies. Israel has repeatedly struck what it says are militant targets across Gaza since the war began nine months ago.

The military accuses Hamas of killing civilians because the militants operate in dense urban areas, but the military rarely comments on individual strikes, which often kill women and children. The Israeli military said the airstrike near the school and reports of civilian casualties were under review, and claimed the strike targeted a Hamas militant who took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

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There were no immediate reports of casualties in Gaza City. Palestinian Red Crescent spokeswoman Nibal Farsakh said families whose relatives were injured or trapped had called ambulances, but medics were unable to reach most of the affected areas because of Israeli operations.

“It’s a dangerous area,” she said.

After Israel called on Monday for an evacuation, The United Nations said staff at two hospitals – Al-Ahli Hospital and the Friends of the Patients Society Hospital – rushed to evacuate patients from the eastern and central parts of Gaza City and closed their doors. Farsakh said the three medical facilities run by the Red Crescent Society in Gaza City had also closed their doors.

Dozens of patients were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, which itself was intense fight scene “We don’t know where to go,” said Mohammed Abu Nasser, who was receiving treatment there earlier in the war. “There is no treatment, no necessities for life. We are dying slowly.”

The Israeli military said Tuesday it had told hospitals and other medical facilities in Gaza City that they did not need to evacuate. But hospitals in Gaza often close their doors and move patients at any sign of possible Israeli military action, fearing airstrikes.

The Episcopal Church in the Middle East, which runs Al-Ahli Hospital, said the hospital was “forced to close by the Israeli military” after evacuation orders and a wave of drone strikes nearby on Sunday.

Over the past nine months, Israeli forces have occupied at least eight hospitals, killing patients and medical staff and causing massive destruction to facilities and equipment. Israel has alleged that Hamas is using hospitals for military purposes, although it has provided limited evidence.

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According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, only 13 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are functioning, and so far only partially.

The Israeli campaign in Gaza, sparked by a Hamas attack on October 7, has killed or wounded more than 5 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, according to the territory’s health ministry. Nearly all residents have been displaced from their homes. Many have been displaced multiple times. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Crammed into suffocating tent camps.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the exodus from Gaza City was “chaotic and dangerous”, with people instructed to flee through neighbourhoods where fighting was ongoing.

“People were seen fleeing in multiple directions, not knowing which route might be safest,” the agency said in a statement, adding that the largest UN bakery in the city had been forced to close and that fighting had prevented aid groups from reaching warehouses.

Maha Mahfouz, a mother of two, said she had fled twice in the past 24 hours. First she ran from her home in Gaza City to a relative’s house in another neighborhood. When that became dangerous, she fled Monday night to the beach, a decades-old refugee camp that has been transformed into an urban area where Israel has carried out frequent airstrikes.

She described the massive destruction inflicted on the areas targeted in the recent raids, saying: “Buildings were destroyed, roads were destroyed, everything was turned into rubble.”

The Israeli military said it had intelligence that militants from Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group were regrouping in central Gaza City. Israel accuses Hamas and other militants of hiding among civilians. In the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, the scene of weeks of fighting, the military said it had destroyed six kilometers (three miles) of Hamas tunnels.

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Hamas has warned that recent raids on Gaza City could lead to the collapse of negotiations on a ceasefire and the release of prisoners.

It seemed that Israel and Hamas Narrowing the gaps in recent daysMediated by the United States, Egypt and Qatar.

CIA Director William Burns met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday in Cairo to discuss the negotiations, the office of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said. Further talks are scheduled for Wednesday in Qatar, where Hamas maintains a political office.

But obstacles remain, even after Hamas agreed to drop its key demand that Israel commit to ending the war as part of any deal. Hamas still wants mediators to ensure that the negotiations end with a permanent ceasefire.

Israel has rejected any deal that would force it to end the war with Hamas without any change. Hamas on Monday accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “placing more obstacles in the way of negotiations,” including operations in Gaza City.

Hamas’s cross-border raid on October 7 killed 1,200 people in southern Israel, most of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities. The militants also took about 250 people hostage. About 120 people remain in captivity, and about a third of them are said to have died.

Israeli bombing and attacks on Gaza have killed more than 38,200 people and wounded more than 88,000, according to the territory’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its statistics.


Magdy reported from Cairo.


Learn more about AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/Israel-Hamas-War