On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes targeted roads leading to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, causing significant damage and hindering access to the main medical referral facility in the Palestinian enclave. Tens of thousands of civilians are seeking shelter within the hospital grounds. Gazan residents reported that these recent airstrikes have been the most intense and violent since the start of the conflict.
The Shifa Hospital, located in Gaza City, has become a refuge for many civilians who decided to stay behind in the city. However, the large influx of people has strained the hospital’s capacity to treat patients effectively. Despite Israeli authorities advising residents to evacuate to the south of the enclave to avoid airstrikes, even these supposedly safe regions have been targeted, resulting in the destruction of homes in Rafah and Khan Younis.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has accused Hamas of using the Shifa Hospital as a base for their terrorist activities, claiming that an extensive network of tunnels and bunkers has been constructed beneath the building. To support this claim, the IDF released a computer-animated video showcasing the supposed layout of these tunnels and shared a video clip of an interrogated Hamas fighter admitting to the existence of the base. However, it remains unclear whether the confession was made under duress.
In a press conference, IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari refused to rule out the possibility of bombing the hospital, stating that all options are on the table in this war. This statement raised concerns about the safety of both patients and medical staff within the hospital.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that Israel has threatened to bomb the Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City. Israeli forces issued an immediate evacuation order, alleging that the hospital was going to be bombarded. However, the hospital management refused to comply with the order.
Israel has escalated its air campaign against Gaza, severing the enclave’s communication with the outside world by destroying phone and internet links. As a consequence, the IDF deployed tanks and infantry to the strip, marking a second stage in their offensive against Hamas.
The latest figures from the Gaza Health Ministry reveal that over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 3,342 children, since the beginning of Israel’s air campaign. In response, Hamas has launched rocket strikes and raids on Israeli territory, resulting in around 1,400 casualties, according to the IDF.
The situation in Gaza remains volatile as airstrikes continue to target critical infrastructure, including hospitals, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis. The international community continues to call for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilian lives and allow for humanitarian aid to reach the affected population.