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Raid on al-Shifa: Israeli forces fire at civilians inside hospital as Hamas calls US complicit

The general director of hospitals in the Gaza Strip says Israeli troops have fired at people inside the al-Shifa hospital during their raid on the largest medical complex in the besieged enclave.

Munir al-Bursh said that those targeted were trying to leave the hospital corridor, which was earlier declared as safe to exit.

“Not a single bullet was fired from inside the hospital during the occupation forces’ storming of the complex,” he told the Al Jazeera TV network on Wednesday,

Bursh also said that Israeli soldiers entered the surgical and emergency buildings located within the al-Shifa hospital complex and searched its basement.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli military announced that it was “carrying out a precise and targeted operation” inside the al-Shifa hospital.

Reports said the occupation soldiers, tanks and bulldozers entered the facility, where around 7,000 people are sheltering, along with 1,500 patients and medical staff.

The Palestinian Hamas movement issued a statement in response to the occupation’s crimes in al-Shifa Hospital, saying, “We hold the occupying regime and its neo-Nazi leaders and US President Joe Biden fully responsible for the consequences of the attack on the al-Shifa medical complex.”

The Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad said, in a statement, that “the United States is complicit in the occupation’s crime in al-Shifa hospital. The occupying regime, which had no military achievements in Gaza, wants to take revenge on civilians and patients.”

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Over the past few days, the Israeli military has launched airstrikes on the hospital and encircled it in defiance of calls to respect the sanctity of medical centers.

The hospital ran out of fuel at the weekend to power generators, resulting in the death of dozens of patients, including premature babies.

Wednesday’s raid came just hours after White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters – without providing evidence – that Washington has “information” that Hamas is using Gaza hospitals, including al-Shifa.

Hamas said the US had given Israel “a green light … to commit more massacres against civilians” by supporting Israel’s “false narrative” that the resistance group was using the al-Shifa hospital as a command and control base.

It further said both Israel and the United States are to blame for the raid that amounted to a “barbaric crime against a medical facility protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

“The silence of the United Nations and the betrayal of many countries and regimes will not deter our Palestinian people from clinging to their land and their legitimate national rights,” Hamas emphasized.

Israel waged the bloody war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity.

Since the start of the war, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 11,500 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured over 29,000 others.

It has also imposed a “complete siege” on the coastal sliver, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

Hospital raid ‘crime against humanity’

The Palestinian Authority’s Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said that Israel was committing a “new crime against humanity, medical staff and patients” by carrying out a military operation inside the hospital.

“We hold the occupation forces fully responsible for the lives of the medical staff, patients and displaced people in al-Shifa,” she said in a statement published by the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The raid, Kaila noted, could have “catastrophic consequences” for patients and medical staff.

Israel alleges that Hamas has built its headquarters in bunkers and tunnels under the al-Shifa hospital, a claim strongly rejected by the Palestinian resistance movement and hospital staff.

“We don’t know what they will do to us. We don’t know whether they will kill people or terrorize them. We know all the propaganda is lies, and they know as well as we do that there is nothing at al-Shifa Medical Centre,” said Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a surgeon inside the al-Shifa hospital.

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