Israeli defense minister says military's Al-Shifa Hospital operation continues

Israeli defense minister says military's Al-Shifa Hospital operation continues

Nov. 17, 2023, 7:51 a.m.

Israel's Defense Minister has said his forces are continuing their operation at Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Yoav Gallant spoke on Thursday at the headquarters of the military division whose troops have been raiding Gaza's largest health facility since the previous day.

Gallant described what he called "significant findings" at the hospital. He said his forces are continuing their operation there "in a precise, selective but very, very determined way."

The Israeli military said it found a Hamas command post and weapons at the hospital, but observers say a video released by Israel does not show anything that could be a command center.

A senior Hamas official rejected Israel's assertions at a news conference in Lebanon on Thursday.

Referring to the video of guns and ammunition Israel says were hidden behind MRI equipment at the hospital, the official said storing weapons near such medical devices would be unreasonable. He alleged that the weapons Israel claims to have found had actually been brought in and planted by Israeli soldiers.

Health officials in Gaza say Israeli forces have destroyed all cars in the Al-Shifa complex and refused to allow medical personnel and patients to leave its grounds.

The officials also say there is no food, water or milk for children and that medical staff, patients and displaced people at the facility are facing death due to the lack of basic necessities.

Al Jazeera reported that hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed various departments of the hospital, which came under heavy fire. It added that Israeli bulldozers destroyed the southern part of the complex and advanced to wreck other sections.

The hospital's director told Al Jazeera that "there is genocide being committed in the complex against patients and premature babies." He said people at the hospital "are waiting for slow death in light of deafening Arab and international silence."

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