OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Heavy fighting has erupted as Israeli forces focus on clearing medical facilities reportedly used for Cover by Hamas.
The fight started on Monday around a hospital in northern Gaza where thousands of patients and displaced people have been sheltering for weeks,
A shell struck the second floor of the Indonesian Hospital, killing at least 12 people, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza and a medical worker inside the facility. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
The advance on the Indonesian Hospital came a day after the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the territory’s largest, where they were among more than 250 critically ill or wounded patients who were stranded days after Israeli forces entered the compound.
The plight of Gaza’s hospitals is at the focus of a battle of narratives over the war’s brutal toll on Palestinian civilians, thousands of whom have been killed or buried in rubble since the six-week-old war was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 rampage into southern Israel.
Israel says Hamas uses civilians as human shields, while critics say Israel’s siege and relentless aerial bombardment amount to collective punishment of the territory’s 2.3 million Palestinians.
Marwan Abdallah, the medical worker at the Indonesian Hospital, said Israeli tanks were operating less than 200 meters (yards) from the hospital, and that Israeli snipers could be seen on the roofs of nearby buildings. As he spoke over the phone, the sound of gunfire could be heard in the background.
Abdallah said the hospital had received dozens of dead and wounded in airstrikes and shelling overnight. He said medical staff and displaced people fear Israel will besiege the hospital and force its evacuation.
Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra, who is now based in southern Gaza, said some 600 patients, 200 healthcare workers and 2,000 displaced people were sheltering there.