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Hamas says medical department 'destroyed' in Israel's Gaza hospital raid

Hamas says medical department 'destroyed' in Israel's Gaza hospital raid
November 16, 2023 Web Desk

GAZA, Palestine (AFP) - The Hamas-run health ministry said Thursday an Israeli raid had 'destroyed' a medical department and damaged two others at Gaza's largest hospital, where hundreds of patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering.

Israeli forces who went into Al-Shifa hospital on Wednesday had 'destroyed the radiology service, and bombed the burns and dialysis departments', health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra told AFP. The ministry said the martyrs' toll from the offensive has now topped 11,500, including thousands of children, calls for a truce are mounting.

Israeli troops advanced their campaign to destroy Hamas in Gaza, fighting gun battles and taking control of a key port a day after a raid on the territory's main hospital. The ground campaign has taken aim at key sites like Gaza government buildings and infrastructure, but also the Al-Shifa hospital.

Bombardment thundered and gunfire rattled in besieged Gaza, AFP live video showed, while Israel's ambassador the United Nations branded as "meaningless" a UN Security Council resolution calling for "extended" pauses in fighting.

The Israeli army said Thursday its troops had taken "operational control" of the port at Gaza City in the territory's north, showing at least a dozen tanks and groups of soldiers massed on the coast near Gaza City. Israel has concentrated its heavy bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza City, announcing this week the seizure of the parliament building, government offices and Hamas police headquarters.

The Israeli military says 51 of its troops have been killed in Gaza since fighting began. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, on an Israel visit Thursday, called for the hostages to be immediately freed, but also urged Israel "not to be consumed by rage" in its battle with Hamas.

The military said late Wednesday that it launched an additional operation at Al-Shifa, hours after a pre-dawn raid that Israeli forces said uncovered rifles, ammunition and explosives from the compound. Both Israel and its top ally the United States say Hamas has built tunnels below the Al-Shifa complex, which has become a focal point in the war.

The Palestinian militant group and directors at the hospital have denied the charge, and Hamas also rejected reports of weapons being at the site. Before Israel first sent troops into the hospital complex on Wednesday, UN agencies estimated that 2,300 patients, staff and displaced civilians were sheltering at Al-Shifa.