Israeli forces raided one of the last functioning hospitals in Gaza’s north and bombarded the south with airstrikes that killed at least 28 Palestinians, pressing ahead with their offensive Tuesday.
The air and ground war, launched in response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, has killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, displaced some 1.9 million people and demolished much of northern Gaza.
A strike on a home in Rafah where displaced people were sheltering killed at least 25 people, including a two-year-old boy and his newborn sister, and another strike killed at least three people, according to journalists with The Associated Press who saw the bodies arrive at two local hospitals early Tuesday.
Rafah, which is in the southern part of Gaza where Israel has told Palestinians to seek shelter, has been repeatedly bombarded in recent days, as Israel has struck at what it says are militant targets across the territory, often killing large numbers of civilians.
With nowhere in Gaza to go, Heba Aliwa’s family of seven live in a donated car in Rafah.
“This is our life in Rafah,” Aliwa told CBC News on Monday. “No water, no food, no drink … no tent, no aid, no nothing.
“This is the seventh place we’ve come to … This is the seventh place we’ve been displaced to.”
Israel’s military said Tuesday that it had killed a prominent Hamas financier in an airstrike on Rafah, without specifying when it occurred or if others had been killed or wounded.
Meanwhile, fierce battles also raged in northern Gaza, which has been reduced to a wasteland seven weeks after Israeli tanks and troops stormed in.
Hamas resistance continues
Israel’s bombardment of the urban Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday killed at least 27 and wounded more than 100, according to Munir al-Boursh, a senior Health Ministry official. A ministry spokesperson said Sunday that Israeli strikes on the camp in northern Gaza killed 90.
In central Gaza, at least 15 people were killed in strikes overnight, according to hospital records. Among the dead were a mother and her four children, who were killed as they sat around a fire, according to an AP reporter who filmed the aftermath.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said 214 bodies were brought into the territory’s hospitals over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll since the start of the war to more than 19,600. The ministry, considered credible by the United Nations, does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths.
Hamas has continued to put up stiff resistance and lob rockets at Israel. The militants said they fired a barrage toward Tel Aviv on Tuesday, and air raid sirens went off in central Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The war began after Hamas and other militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel and abducted 240 others, according to a tally by Israeli officials.
Israel’s military says 131 of its soldiers have been killed in the Gaza ground offensive. Israel says it has killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence, and blames civilian deaths on Hamas, saying the militant group uses them as human shields when it fights in residential areas.
Israel raids Al-Ahli Hospital
Israeli forces raided the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City overnight, according to the church that operates it, destroying a wall at its front entrance and detaining most of its staff.
The facility was the scene of an explosion early in the war that killed dozens of Palestinians, and which an AP investigation later determined was likely caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
Don Binder, a pastor at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, which runs the hospital, said the raid left just two doctors, four nurses and two janitors to tend to over 100 seriously wounded patients, with no running water or electricity.
“It has been a great mercy for the many wounded in Gaza City that we were able to keep our Ahli Anglican Hospital open for so long,” Binder wrote in a Facebook post late Monday.
“That ended today.”
He said an Israeli tank was parked on the rubble at the hospital’s entrance, blocking anyone from entering or leaving.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Forces have raided other hospitals across Gaza, accusing Hamas of using them for military purposes. Hospital staff have denied the allegations and accused Israel of endangering critically ill and wounded civilians.
The military said Tuesday that troops found an explosive device inside a clinic in Shijaiyah, a Gaza City neighbourhood that has seen heavy fighting in recent days. It did not say whether the clinic was operational, and in footage released by the military it appeared to have been abandoned.
Hamas has denied using hospitals for militant activities.
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