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‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 40: Israeli Forces Storm Al-Shifa Hospital

Strip-Naked And Arrest People Inside.

Israeli forces took dozens of Palestinians captive inside Al-Shifa and bombed their way into floors and rooms. The Palestinian health minister warned of a massacre to be committed in the complex.


  • 11,255 killed*, including 4,630 children, and 29,000 wounded in Gaza
  • 196 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,200

*This figure covers the casualties from October 7 to November 14.

Key Developments

  • In hospital raid, Israeli forces took captive dozens of displaced people, relatives of patients and the injured inside Al-Shifa, after stripping them of their clothes, blindfolding them, and taking them to “unknown” locations.
  • The buildings of the nephrology and the internal medicine departments at Al-Shifa Hospital were the first to be stormed by Israeli forces overnight, Al-Jazeera reported. Israeli forces also detonated a medicine storehouse at the hospital.
  • White House backs Israeli accusations of a Hamas command underneath Al-Shifa Hospital, which Hamas denied. Hospital staff have called on independent, third-party investigators to come to the hospital and investigate the claim, which they also say is false.
  • Hamas: White House adoption of false claims of command center under Al-Shifa is a “green light to the [Israeli]  occupation force to commit more massacres against civilians.”
  • Health official: Israeli forces shot at Palestinians who left the Al-Shifa complex through the “safe corridor” which they set up.
  • Belize severs ties with Israel and withdraws the accreditation of Tel Aviv’s ambassador.

Israeli Forces Storm Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s Largest Medical Facility

Israeli forces and tanks stormed on Wednesday morning Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, following a late-night threat call to the hospital’s medical staff warning them of an imminent incursion inside the sprawling complex at “any minute”.

Currently housing thousands of patients, doctors, and civilian families, Al-Shifa has been a primary target of Israel since the beginning of its war on Gaza. In recent days Israel and the US have been ramping up claims of alleged “intelligence” to support Israel’s allegation of a Hamas command center that it says lies beneath the hospital.

Following the threatening call on Tuesday night, Al Jazeera reported that hospital staff warned Israeli forces that there were thousands of civilians and patients in the wards.

Ashraf Al-Qudra, the Ministry of Health spokesman, who broke the news of the raid plan during a live call on Al-Jazeera Arabic, said that Palestinians inside Al-Shifa were terrified upon hearing the news, leaving many in a state of panic.

Wednesday morning local time, shortly after 8am, Israeli tanks and forces bombed the northern wall of Al-Shifa complex and made their way through to the main courtyard and to various medical buildings that make up the hospital.

By noon Wednesday, reports confirmed that Israeli forces were inside all the buildings of Al-Shifa complex. Al-Jazeera reported that dozens of displaced people and relatives of patients and the injured were arrested, after being stripped of their clothes and blindfolded, and taken to “unknown” destinations.

No pictures are coming from inside Al-Shifa complex during the Israeli storming and internet and signal communication are unstable.

Eyewitnesses told Al-Jazeera Arabic that forces ordered civilians and medical staff to move to the upper floors of the buildings, and that they could hear explosions in the lower floors of the complex, but could not confirm what it was. Shrapnel from Israeli explosives reportedly fell on civilians and shattered windows in the hospital.

The buildings of the nephrology and the internal medicine were the first to be stormed by Israel forces, who detonated a medicine storehouse, Al-Jazeera reported. Then it stormed the facilities of maternity and the specialist departments.

Israeli forces detonated some doors and shouted in loudspeakers at young men who were sheltering in the hospital to hand themselves in.

Later on Wednesday morning, after destroying medical stores inside the hospital, the government of Israel posted photos and videos on social media claiming to show its soldiers delivering aid to the hospital. Earlier this week Israel also published videos showing its soldiers delivering a number of gallon tanks of fuel to the area outside Al-Shifa, claiming that Hamas refused the “offering,” Medical staff at the hospital, however, said its staff were too fearful to go outside and receive the fuel because of Israeli snipers positioned around the hospital, and that the fuel provided by Israel would only be enough to power parts of the hospital for 30 minutes.

Prior to the storming on Wednesday morning, Al-Shifa has been under Israeli siege for the past six days. People attempting to leave the premises were under the danger of being shot by Israeli forces, while witnesses inside the hospital say that they were coming under fire while moving within the complex as well.  Ambulances were also blocked from rescuing the injured or transferring the bodies in the hospital’s vicinity.

There are unconfirmed figures of thousands of patients, injured, displaced people and medical staff inside the hospital, which went completely out of service on Sunday, November 12th. The hospital had already been suffering from food and water shortages, as well as the deaths of dozens of patients, including premature babies, due to lack of oxygen and electricity at the hospital.

On Tuesday, just hours before the Israeli raid, medical staff and volunteers dug a mass grave to bury 170 bodies that had been piling up at the hospital and were beginning to decompose, as the hospital has no mortuary refrigeration.

Except for the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza’s Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, all of northern Gaza’s hospitals have gone out of service due to the lack of fuel, medical supplies, and intense damage sustained by Israeli bombardment. Even the Al-Ahli hospital is running on limited  and stopped receiving patients as they ran out of fuel, medicine and suffered damages to the facilities. However, Al-Ahli also has limited resources to treat mild and moderate cases only, health officials say.

US Backs The Israeli Storming Of Al-Shifa Hospital

The US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby backed Israel’s plan to storm the Al-Shifa complex, repeating the unverified Israeli allegation that a command center for the Palestinians resistance lies underneath it.

Kirby said on Tuesday that there were tunnels for Hamas and Islamic Jihad underneath Al-Shifa “to conceal and to support military operations and to hold hostages.”

Kirby said the information was gathered from a number of “intelligence methods,” and added that President Biden downgraded the classification level of some US intelligence data in order to share with the media, Reuters reported.

“Hamas and the PIJ members operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City. They have stored weapons there and they are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility,” he said.

Kirby added that “hospitals and patients must be protected” and “Hamas actions do not lessen Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians in Gaza”.

Hamas has repeatedly denied this accusation, and Palestinian factions and health officials have called repeatedly for international teams and independent investigators to visit Al-Shifa and other hospitals to conduct an investigation.

On Wednesday, Hamas said in a statement they hold “the Israeli occupation and President Biden wholly responsible for the assault on al-Shifa medical complex.”

“The adoption by the White House and the Pentagon of the occupation’s false claim that the resistance is using al-Shifa medical complex for military ends has given the green light to the occupation to commit more massacres against civilians,” it added.

Early on Wednesday, the Arabic spokesman of the Israeli forces Avichai Adraee tweeted that Israeli forces were carrying out an operation in “certain parts” of Al-Shifa based on intelligence information.

He claimed that there was a “safe corridor” for people to leave Al-Shifa. According to medical officials, Israel forces shot at Palestinians who left the complex through the “safe corridor” which they set up. Eyewitnesses also told Al-Jazeera that they were asked to stay away from windows and doors as snipers were shooting at anyone looking outside.

Israeli forces said they were met with explosive devices and armed clashes from Palestinian fighters before their incursion into Al-Shifa.

Haaretz reported that the Israeli forces’ primary goal of storming Al-Shifa was to destroy Hamas network and their stash of weaponry and to possibly rescue captives.

Muhammad Zaqout, the General Director of Gaza Hospitals, confirmed that not a single Palestinian bullet was fired from inside Al-Shifa when forces stormed the complex on Wednesday morning, and that Israeli forces encountered no resistance.

“The occupation forces stormed the surgical and emergency buildings in Al-Shifa complex, entered the emergency department, and are now searching the hospital’s basement,” he told Al-Jazeera.

Media cameras have been focused for the past 40 days of the war on the emergency building of Al-Shifa.

“The occupation army believed that its soldiers entering the Shifa complex would be a victory for it, but it did not find any evidence of the existence of resistance,” he added.

There are an estimated 1,500 medical staff and 7,000 people inside Al-Shifa, according to Zaqout. However, figures are hard to confirm as Gaza lacks proper internet and telecommunication signals.

Condemnations Of Al-Shifa Hospital Raid

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) voiced its alarm over Israel’s raid on the Al-Shifa Hospital on Wednesday, saying  “We are extremely concerned about the impact on sick and wounded people, medical staff, and civilians,” adding that “all measures to avoid any consequences on them must be taken”.

Senior UN aid official Martin Griffiths wrote on X that he was “appalled” by the raid on Al-Shifa hospital, saying “the protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns. Hospitals are not battlegrounds.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, described the raids as “deeply concerning.”

Mai al-Kaila, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Minister of Health in Ramallah condemned the raid on Al-Shifa hospital, saying that Israeli forces bore responsibility for the safety and lives of patients in Al-Shifa, and warned of a massacre to be committed inside it.

Al-Kaila said that the meek global reaction to Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip had emboldened it to storm Al-Shifa, in violation of international law. She added that since October 7th, Israeli forces have killed 198 medical staff in the Gaza Strip.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the UN Security Council and the international community “must shoulder its moral responsibilities and work to put pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to stop its continued aggression, war, and targeting of civilians, especially women and children, which may not be justified under any justification or excuse.”

Al-Shifa is one of Gaza’s oldest medical facilities, built atop of a British barracks in 1946. The complex includes buildings for surgery, internal disease, obstetrics and gynaecology, a nursery for premature babies, emergency department, intensive care units, radiology and blood bank.

It has 500 to 700 hospital beds and serves the medical needs of almost half a million people in Gaza. It is built on 45,000 square meters of land in western of Gaza City, and employs 1,500 medical staff, including 500 doctors and 760 nurses.

Wednesday was not the first time Israel raided Al-Shifa Hospital. Prior to 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, its forces stormed and targeted Al-Shifa during the First and Second Intifadas multiple times.

The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday evening that 11,451 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank since October 7, and 31,700 have been wounded.

The ministry said it is facing difficulty updating casualty figures due to the lack of communication services in northern Gaza hospitals.

In the Gaza Strip alone, an estimated 11,255 have been killed, including 4,630 children, 3,130 women, and 682 elderly, while 29,000 were wounded. Almost 3,250 people are missing and believed dead or trapped  under the rubble, including 1,700 children.

Ground Invasion: Israeli Forces Capture Palestinian Parliament, Hamas Says It Destroyed Israeli Tanks

As Israel’s ground invasion moves deeper into Gaza, Israeli forces said it captured the Palestinian parliament in Gaza City and released a photo of soldiers inside it. It also announced the control of the police headquarters in Gaza.

At least 49 Israeli soldiers were announced dead in the battles with Palestinian factions. The fighting between Israeli forces and resistance fighters did not stop since Israel invaded Gaza on October 28.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are still launching rockets at Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza Strip and as far as Tel Aviv and armed clashes are still taking place in northern and southern parts of Gaza City.

On Wednesday, Hamas said it launched rockets on Asqalan (Ashkelon), where sirens went off, and that it attacked Israeli military vehicles with the 114mm Rajum rocket launcher, and in Deir Al-Balah, it targeted tanks with 105mm Al-Yaseen shells.

Islamic Jihad said on Wednesday that it shot down an Israeli Skylark drone.

In southern Lebanon, Israeli forces fired into the town of Al-Khiam, and launched airstrikes on the Merkaba and Kafr Kila villages, after a drone was launched from Lebanon setting off the sirens in the Israeli towns of Kiryat Shmona and Margaliot in north of occupied Palestine.

Arrests In The West Bank Continue; Belize Cuts Ties With Israel

In the West Bank, 196 Palestinians have been killed and 2,700 wounded since October 7th, as Israeli forces ramp up raids in the occupied territory.

On Tuesday evening, the ministry of health announced the death of Yamen Kamel Ateeq from the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Ateeq had succumbed to wounds he sustained after being shot with two bullets by Israeli forces on October 29.

Overnight Tuesday Israeli forces arrested 54 Palestinians, including a number of female university students from Hebron. Forces raided houses and arrested people from Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Ramallah and Jerusalem, Wafa reported.

Meanwhile on Tuesday evening, the government of Belize, a nation on the eastern coast of Central America and on the Caribbean, said it was severing ties with Israel. Belize follows Bolivia, who cut its diplomatic ties with Israel in October.

In a statement, Belize said that Israeli forces “engaged in incessant indiscriminate shelling” in Gaza that has killed more than 11,000 innocent civilians, mostly women and children.

“The bombardment has destroyed many buildings and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and other constructions,” adding that Israel has “systematically violated international law, international humanitarian law, and the human rights of Gazans.”

Belize withdrew the accreditation of Israel’s ambassador in the country.

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