Israeli forces enter Al Shifa, claiming it holds Hamas fortress
Israeli forces swept through Al Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza. Some video was provided to USA TODAY by the IDF with faces blurred.
An Israeli army corporal being held by Hamas was killed by her captives, not by an Israeli airstrike as the militants claimed, the Israeli military says.
Hamas says the airstrike Nov. 9 killed Cpl. Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old whose body was recovered last week in Gaza. But Israel says a militant holding Marciano, captured during the Oct. 7 militant rampage through Israeli border communities, was killed and Marciano was wounded when the airstrike hit an apartment near Shifa Hospital.
“The pathology report states that Noa was injured by the strike, but not in a life-threatening way, and this is contrary to the lies published by Hamas,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesperson, said late Sunday. “According to intelligence information, Noa was taken inside the walls of Shifa Hospital, where she was murdered by a Hamas terrorist.”
The Israeli military said it sends its “heartfelt condolences to the Marciano family” and will continue to support them while working toward the return of the more than 200 hostages believed held by militants in Gaza.
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∎ Israel said it found a 60-yard-long tunnel about 30 feet under Shifa Hospital, claiming it represents more evidence that Hamas maintained a compound under the 20-acre hospital compound.
∎ The Israeli military said its airstrikes killed three Hamas company commanders and destroyed a weapons depot where they were hiding.
∎ The World Health Organization, which has evacuated some patients and staff from embattled Shifa Hospital in recent days, said it remains gravely concerned about the safety and health needs of more than 250 patients and 20 health workers who remain. Planning is underway to evacuate them, WHO said in a statement.
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Several relatives of hostages being held by Hamas made an urgent plea for their release at a news conference Monday in London. The Irish father of Emily Hand, who turned 9 on Friday, pleaded for her release. Emily Hand was originally feared dead after the assault on Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel on Oct. 7.
‘It’s nightmare, an absolute nightmare,” Thomas Hand said. “The sheer terror of a 9 year old girl down in those dark tunnels, never seeing the light of day. Sheer terror, panic every hour of every day.”
He said he prays for his daughter’s return but said his family has been given virtually no information on the progress of talks aimed at freeing the captives. Officials in Qatar have said a deal is close that would result in the release some of the hostages in return for a temporary cease-fire
“I don’t know what condition she is going to be in, but she’s going to be broken, very broken, mentally and physically,” Thomas Hand said of his daughter. “And we are going to have to fix that.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday decried the ‘unprecedented’ loss of civilian lives including thousands of children as Israel expanded its bombardment of Gaza.
“This is what matters,” Guterres said at a press briefing at UN headquarters in New York. “We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict” since he became secretary general in 2017.
The Gaza Health Ministry says the Palestinian death toll of about 13,000 since the war began Oct. 7 includes at least 5,500 children. Guterres said it is crucial that the world seizes an opportunity from tragedy unfolding in Gaza to create a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.
WHO chief ‘appalled’ by attack on another Gaza hospital
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Oganization, said he was “appalled” by an attack on Indonesian Hospital in Gaza that reportedly resulted in 12 deaths, including patients, and several critical and life-threatening injuries. Heavy fighting erupted around Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza as Israel continues to expand its offensive in the enclave. The hospital is about five miles east of Shifa Hospital, which has been the focus of a major Israeli attack for several days. Israel accused Hamas of using hospital grounds to hide militants and weapons, a claim denied by Hamas.
“Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital,” Tedros said in a social media post.
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell is facing backlash in the Arab world over what is being viewed as a double standard for his comments Sunday on the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. Borrell was asked by Al Jazeera whether he believed Israel’s attack constituted a war crime.
“Well, I’m not a lawyer, but there’s an International Court of Justice that’ll investigate and I’ll abide by their decision,” Borrell said.
When asked specifically whether the Hamas attack Oct. 7 was a war crime, Borrell said it was a war crime. When pressed on why he was willing to judge Hamas but not Israel, Borrell denied applying a double standard but acknowledged that “you are right, we should let the International Criminal Court decide.” The interview circulated widely on social media, drawing outrage from some Palestinians.
Darine Dandachly of Lebanon posted that “you are not a lawyer but you are a complicit in genocide against the Palestinians.” Another social media post by #UncensorPalestine said “there you have it. Evident display of racism and double standards.”
The Israeli military released multiple videos it says shows Hamas militants “forcibly transporting hostages” inside Shifa Hospital on Oct. 7, the day Hamas militants seized them during the rampage that left more than 1,200 people dead. The military said the videos show a Nepalese civilian and a Thai civilian, who were kidnapped from Israeli territory. In one of the videos a person is being dragged along a hospital corridor; another shows a bleeding person on a gurney. Israeli vehicles stolen during the attack can also be seen inside the hospital compound, the military said.
“These findings add to previous evidence presented regarding Hamas’ use of the hospital area as infrastructure for its terrorist activities in a systematic and ongoing manner,” the military said.
Israel’s military campaign through Gaza, aimed at destroying Hamas, has killed more than 11,500 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing and feared dead in the rubble.
Contributing: The Associated Press
David Turner is a globe-trotting journalist who brings a global perspective to our readers. With a commitment to shedding light on international events, he explores complex geopolitical issues, offering a nuanced view of the world’s most pressing challenges.