Israeli military focuses on Gaza hospitals
Israel’s military is increasingly centering its attention on Gaza hospitals, as it claims the facilities are being used by Hamas militants. A visit by the media to a children’s medical center on Monday revealed weapons and explosives in a room beneath the Al-Rantisi children’s hospital, which IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari called an “arsenal.” The IDF has claimed that a portion of the hospital’s basement had been a Hamas “command and control center,” which may have been used to hold hostages.
Hamas has denied these claims, stating that the hospital’s basement had been used as a shelter for women and children, as well as a location for the hospital’s pharmacy and administrative offices before rainwater made its use “impossible.”
The media visit to the hospital was under the escort of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), but CNN maintained editorial control over the final report, and did not hand over material for this report to the IDF. IDF had allowed the passage of foot and ambulances to evacuate patients from three major hospitals – Al-Shifa, Al-Rantisi, and Nasser.
The Israel Defense Forces claim to have conducted operations inside the Al-Rantisi children’s hospital just hours before the visit and are pursuing suspicions of a connection between an apparent entrance to a nearby tunnel and the rooms beneath the hospital. Further allegations point to a Hamas center hidden in the hospital’s basement, which has been strongly denied by hospital staff and Hamas.
The situation in Gaza has resulted in immense destruction and loss of life, with at least 137 attacks on health facilities recorded by the World Health Organization, resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries. The intense fighting surrounding several hospitals in northern Gaza has created siege-like conditions.
As the conflict persists, health organizations and aid groups have criticized orders by Israeli forces for hospitals to evacuate or put themselves at risk from fighting. The ongoing attacks on Gaza hospitals have sparked a call for “urgent international action” by the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, and the WHO.
The critical situation at the hospitals, particularly Al-Shifa – the largest in Gaza – has raised concerns for the safety of hundreds of patients and the potential for loss of life. The continuous conflict in Gaza has left civilians and the most vulnerable populations in an increasingly precarious situation.
As tensions persist and hostilities continue, efforts by international organizations seek to ensure the safety and access to healthcare for civilians in Gaza. The ongoing conflict remains a pressing issue that requires immediate attention to safeguard the lives of innocent civilians, including women and children.