'No safe place left': Israeli strike at Gaza's biggest hospital kills 13

Witnesses say tanks have surrounded some other hospitals in Gaza City as fierce fighting continued

By AFP

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The mother of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Amira, who was killed in an Israeli strike, is comforted by her son as she breaks down at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 9. — Reuters
The mother of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Amira, who was killed in an Israeli strike, is comforted by her son as she breaks down at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 9. — Reuters

Published: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 3:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 4:42 PM

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip said on Friday that an Israeli strike at the territory's largest hospital compound killed 13 people.

"Thirteen martyrs and dozens wounded in an Israeli strike on Al Shifa compound today" in central Gaza City, a government statement said, while the Israeli military did not offer an immediate comment.

An AFP journalist saw at least seven covered bodies outside the hospital.

Al Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya said "Israeli tanks fired on Al Shifa hospital."

Abu Mohammad, 32, had taken refuge in the hospital along with 15 relatives after the bombardments of his neighbourhood in the northeast part of Gaza City. "There is no safe place left. The army hit Al Shifa. I don't know what to do," he said.

"There is shooting... at the hospital. We are afraid to go out."

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Witnesses said tanks had surrounded some other hospitals in Gaza City as fierce fighting continued, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee to the south of the territory over the past few weeks.

AFPTV footage showed a fireball and smoke rising over the city at dawn. Early Friday sounds of apparent gunfire and explosions could be heard.

Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as hideouts

Israel had reported heavy fighting on Thursday near the hospital, saying it had killed dozens of militants and destroyed tunnels that are key to Hamas' capacity to fight.

The Israeli army has repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals, particularly Al Shifa, to coordinate their attacks against the army and also as hideouts for its commanders.

Hamas authorities and doctors deny the accusations.

Mohammed Zaqout, director-general of Gaza hospitals, said they were facing a "catastrophic situation" without electricity, water or food.

"We are unable to provide services to the wounded and the hospitals are continuously bombed by Israel," Zaqout said.

Tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering in the hospitals are at risk, who are exposed to aerial bombardment and direct artillery fire, he added.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the border on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with an aerial bombing and ground campaign that the health ministry in Gaza Strip says has killed more than 10,800 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

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