Army Israeli Agence France-Presse This photo released by the Israeli army shows soldiers moving around the al-Chifa hospital.
Mai Yaghi – Agence France-Presse and Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse in the Gaza Strip
- Middle East
The Israeli army carried out an operation in Gaza's main hospital on Wednesday before withdrawing its soldiers and tanks, sparking serious international concerns over the fate of patients and thousands of trapped civilians.
< p>The Israeli army accuses Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of using al-Chifa hospital as a military base, the site representing a major objective in its war against the Islamist movement.
She said she had been carrying out a “targeted operation” since Wednesday morning in the establishment where, according to the UN, there are around 2,300 people, including patients, caregivers and displaced people.
A journalist collaborating with AFP saw the Israeli army, after the withdrawal of its soldiers, reposition itself around the establishment at the end of the afternoon.
Contacted by AFP, the Israeli army did not immediately comment.
Early Wednesday, dozens of Israeli soldiers, some hooded, burst into the hospital, according to the journalist working with AFP on site.
“All men aged 16 and over, raise your hands in the air and exit the buildings towards the inner courtyard to surrender,” they shouted in Arabic.
- Israel carries out “targeted” operation in Gaza’s largest hospital
- In the West Bank, Israeli incursions and Palestinian deaths are on the rise
- “Hands in the air!”: Israeli soldiers impose themselves in the corridors of the al-Chifa hospital in Gaza
No 'green light' from Washington
International pressure intensifies on Israel to protect Palestinian civilians as Israeli military accuses Hamas of using al-Chifa hospital as a military and strategic base.
The United States on Tuesday corroborated claims by its Israeli ally about the use of Gaza hospitals for military purposes, statements that Hamas says give a “green light” to Israel to “commit further massacres.”
On Wednesday, Washington said it had not “given the green light to operations around al-Chifa hospital,” any more than it does for Israel’s other military decisions.< /p>
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned “with the greatest firmness” the bombing of civilian infrastructure. The Quai d'Orsay expressed “its very deep concern” on Wednesday, believing that the Palestinian population did not “have to pay for the crimes of Hamas.”
For his part, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called Israel a “terrorist state,” denouncing the cost in lives of Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip.
The war was sparked by the Hamas attack on October 7 on Israeli soil, unprecedented since the creation of Israel. Around 1,200 people were killed, mainly civilians massacred that day, according to the authorities.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, which it considers a “terrorist” organization, as well as the United States and the European Union, relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip, which is under total siege.
Israeli bombings left 11,320 dead, mostly civilians, including 4,650 children, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory.
In al-Chifa on Wednesday, soldiers also searched crying women and children, according to the journalist on site. In the hospital corridors, they sometimes fired into the air as they went from room to room.
Israel said it sent “trained Arabic-speaking medical teams” so “that no one harm be done to civilians used by Hamas as human shields.”
A senior defense official assured that there was no exchange of fire inside the hospital complex, nor any operations in the buildings where the army knew the patients and teams were located.
Despite international pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that there would be “no place in Gaza” which Israel “will not reach, no hiding place, no refuge.”
“We will reach and eliminate Hamas and we will bring back the hostages,” two “sacred missions,” he said. he says.
Pressure is growing inside Israel on the Netanyahu government to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas on October 7.
About 240 people were kidnapped on the day of Hamas' initial attack, according to Israeli authorities who announced Wednesday that a hostage had given birth in Gaza.
The Forum of Families of Hostages and Disappeared demanded that the government approve an agreement “to bring home all the hostages from Gaza”, and around a hundred relatives of hostages began a march from Tel Aviv to the office of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem.
“War against the existence of the Palestinians”
Hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip, transformed into camps for Thousands of Palestinians fleeing the fighting, most of them no longer work, deprived of electricity and lacking fuel to power the generators.
Despite a first delivery of just over 23,000 liters of fuel on Wednesday via Egypt, the UN warned that its aid operations in Gaza were “on the brink of collapse” and the UN humanitarian chief The United Nations on Wednesday urged an end to “the carnage in Gaza.”
Amid the rubble of her house struck Tuesday evening in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, Alia Abu Jazar launches a cry of despair:
“I'm 18, I'm a high school student with dreams. I dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but they destroyed our entire house. My books and my whole dream were destroyed. Why, God? For what ? »
The war in Gaza is “a war against the existence of the Palestinians,” thundered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In the center of the Gaza Strip, a new strike targeted a building in Deir al-Balah on Wednesday.
“We heard a loud explosion, we rushed and we found only remains of women and children,” city resident Awni al-Douggi told AFP.
In the territory, subjected since October 9 by Israel to a total siege, the population is deprived of deliveries of water, electricity, food and medicine and international humanitarian aid has been arriving there in dribs and drabs since the Egypt.
Moreover, the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel announced “a suspension of all telecommunications services within a few hours”, due to lack of fuel.
Since November 5, around 200,000 Palestinians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), have fled the northern Gaza Strip, transformed into a field of ruins, after Israel opened evacuation “corridors” .
According to OCHA, 1.65 of the territory's 2.4 million inhabitants have been displaced by the war. Many of them took refuge in the south, near the Egyptian border, but several hundred thousand others remained amid fighting in the north.