Related: John Kirby confirms Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad use hospitals
Gunfire and explosions were heard inside the hospital complex, which had been surrounded by Israeli forces in recent days but continued to operate with hundreds of patients and medical personnel still inside.
The IDF said it was conducting a “precise” operation against Hamas in a specific area of the complex while taking steps to avoid harm to civilians.
Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as cover for its fighters, alleging that Hamas has set up its main command centre in and beneath Al Shifa hospital. Both Hamas and hospital staff deny the Israeli allegations.
Earlier, Dr Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the Gaza health ministry, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces had raided the western side of the medical complex.
“There are big explosions and dust entered the areas where we are. We believe an explosion occurred inside the hospital,” Bursh said.
Just hours before the operation started the White House said it had its own intelligence that Hamas was using hospitals to run its military operations and store weapons. National security spokesperson John Kirby said the US does “not support striking a hospital from the air”.
White House says Hamas using hospitals for military operations but condemns fighting in medical facility
Just hours before Israel said its forces had entered Al Shifa, the White House said it had its own intelligence that Hamas was using hospitals to run its military operations and store weapons.
However, national security spokesperson John Kirby said the US does not support either air strikes or ground operations being conducted against the medical facility.
“We do not want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people are simply trying to get the medical care they deserve,” he added.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 03:31
Israel accuses Hamas of operating underneath Al Shifa hospital
Israel has said that Hamas has a command centre underneath Al Shifa and uses the hospital and tunnels beneath it to conceal military operations and to hold hostages. Hamas denies it.
In a statement, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said: “Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa hospital.”
The military added: “The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians.”
Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told CNN the hospital and compound were for Hamas “a central hub of their operations, perhaps even the beating heart and maybe even a centre of gravity.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 03:24
Big explosions heard from inside of Al Shifa hospital
The Israeli military said it was carrying out a raid against Hamas militants in Al Shifa Hospital, having urged them to surrender, with thousands of Palestinian civilians still sheltering inside Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital.
Dr Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the Gaza health ministry, told Al Jazeera television that Israeli forces had raided the western side of the medical complex.
“There are big explosions and dust entered the areas where we are. We believe an explosion occurred inside the hospital,” Dr Bursh said.
Less than an hour earlier, around 1am local time, a Gaza health ministry spokesman said Israel had told officials in the enclave that it would raid the Al Shifa hospital complex “in the coming minutes.”
Namita Singh15 November 2023 03:21
Israeli forces raid Gaza’s largest hospital in ‘targeted operation’ and urge Hamas to surrender
The hospital administration reported that after days of siege they were informed early on Wednesday that Israeli troops would raid the complex “within minutes”, shortly before reporting intense gunfire inside the walls of the hospital.
Our chief international correspondent Bel Trew reports:
Namita Singh15 November 2023 03:21
Welcome to The Independent’s liveblog for Wednesday 15 November 2023, where we provide the latest on the Israel’s ground assault in Gaza following Hamas’ 7 October incursion.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 03:08