Israeli army opens fire at hospital wards –Gaza health ministry

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Wednesday that Israeli forces have opened fire at hospital rooms, raising fears for the safety of 12 children in pediatric care.

“The occupation [Israeli] forces have tightened the siege and the targeting of Kamal Adwan hospital, firing at patient rooms and courtyards,” ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement.

“We fear the death of 12 children in pediatric care who are already deprived of milk and are without life support equipment.”

The Israeli army did not offer an immediate comment, while AFP was unable to confirm the situation at the hospital independently.

On Tuesday Qudra said that Israeli forces had stormed the Kamal Adwan hospital in the north of the Palestinian territory and were rounding up men in the courtyard.

The previous day, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said two mothers were killed when the maternity department of Kamal Adwan hospital was reportedly hit.

In Wednesday’s statement, Qudra said that Israeli forces had detained hospital director Ahmed al-Kahlot and other staff members who were “tortured and deprived of food and drink.”

Several of them were later released, he said.

Qudra said the Israeli forces were also targeting Al-Awda hospital and tightening the siege of the facility, “depriving it of water, food and electricity.”

Forces were also “preventing the wounded and sick from reaching” the hospital, he added.

Israeli troops have previously raided other medical facilities in Gaza, including Al-Shifa, the territory’s largest hospital.

The military accuses Hamas of using hospitals as command centers to plan and launch attacks against Israeli forces, a charge denied by the militant group.

There is currently only one hospital in northern Gaza able to admit patients, according to the UN.

Just 14 of 36 hospitals across the territory are functioning, providing limited healthcare while sheltering thousands of displaced people, the World Health Organization said Sunday.

More than 18,600 Gazans have been killed and almost 50,600 wounded since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted more than two months ago, according to the health ministry.

Around 1,200 people were killed in an unprecedented attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel on October 7, Israeli officials say, which sparked the blistering military response on Gaza.

The majority of war casualties in Israel and Gaza have been civilians. — Agence France-Presse

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