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Israeli military says it killed 90 gunmen at Gaza's Al Shifa hospital
Israeli military says it killed 90 gunmen at Gaza's Al Shifa hospital
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Israeli military says it killed 90 gunmen at Gaza's Al Shifa hospital
by DZRH News22 March 2024
Smoke rises during an Israeli raid at Al-Shifa hospital and the area around it, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Gaza City, March 20, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

JERUSALEM/CAIRO (Reuters) -Israel's military said on Wednesday it had killed around 90 gunmen and arrested 160 in a raid on Gaza's Al Shifa hospital, an allegation the Islamist Hamas group denied.

Al Shifa, the Gaza Strip's biggest hospital before the war, is now one of the few healthcare facilities even partially operational in the north of the territory, and had also been housing displaced civilians.

"Over the past day, the troops have eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment," the military said in a statement.

It also published the names and photographs of two Israeli soldiers killed in the operation.

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Israel's raid at the hospital began in the early hours of Monday. The military, which published videos of weapons stashes inside the facility, said it had sent in special forces supported by infantry and tanks, based on intelligence that the hospital was again being used by gunmen.

Ismail Al-Thawabta, director of Gaza's Hamas-run government media office, said all of those killed had been wounded patients and displaced persons inside the hospital.

"The Israeli occupation army practices lying and deception in spreading its narrative as part of justifying its continuous and law-breaking crimes, which violate international law, international humanitarian law," he said.

Reuters was unable to verify either account.

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Israel faced fierce criticism last November when troops first raided Al Shifa hospital. The troops uncovered tunnels there, which they said had been used as command and control centres by Hamas. Hamas and medical staff deny that the hospital is used for military purposes or to shelter fighters.

“What happens in Al Shifa Hospital is a war crime and is part of the war of genocide conducted by the Israeli occupation,” said senior Hamas official Basem Naim, who has previously served as a health minister.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Gareth Jones and Sharon Singleton)

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