West News Wire: 7000 patients, medical personnel, and other civilians in need of shelter are reportedly trapped in the hospital complex, which is still without access to water, electricity, or communications, according to Al-Shifa Director Muhammad Abu Salmiya.
Amidst a fresh communications blackout, Israeli forces have attacked al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip.
On Friday, Israeli troops searched al-Shifa building by building, amidst the thousands of patients, premature babies, workers, and displaced individuals who are confined there.
Al-Shifa Hospital has become a focal point for Israeli strikes since the regime’s troops raided the complex on Wednesday, alleging that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas was using it as a command center. Hamas and hospital managers categorically deny the claim.
The latest raid on al-Shifa came as communications in Gaza were once again cut off.
Gaza’s main telecommunications companies, Paltel and Jawwal, said on Thursday that all telecom services had gone out.
All communications were unavailable, according to the Paltel group, since “fuel was not allowed in, and all energy sources sustaining the network have been depleted.”
The UN issued a warning, stating that the blackout would make civilian suffering worse.
Head of the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Philippe Lazzarini remarked, “When you have a blackout and you cannot communicate with anyone anymore, that triggers and fuels even more the anxiety and the panic.” (UNRWA).
Churches, homes, mosques, and hospitals have all been the target of Israeli attacks on Gaza on multiple occasions. It is strictly forbidden to target hospitals under the Geneva Convention.
On October 17, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City’s al-Ahli Arab Hospital resulted in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of Palestinians. The assault has been denounced as a genocide by many governments around the world.
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for Palestinians hoping to be spared Israeli bombardments, which began early in October.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has urged the United Nations secretary-general to form an international committee to visit hospitals in the besieged strip to counter Israel’s “false” claims that they are used as launch pad for anti-Israel operations. Hamas has noted that the claims are aimed to “justify” Israel’s attacks on hospitals in Gaza.
Also on Friday, an Israeli strike targeted al-Falah School, which houses thousands of displaced people, in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, south of Gaza City, leaving a large number of people killed and injured.
Israel also continued its fatal air and artillery strikes on other parts of Gaza, including the southern province of Khan Yunis.
According to Palestinian sources, it has become difficult to obtain accurate casualty figures due to the blackout.
Overnight, many places in Gaza were also the target of Israeli airstrikes and shelling.
Numerous displaced Palestinians were injured and killed by an Israeli attack in the Rafah neighborhood of southern Gaza.
In the meantime, another airstrike on residential buildings in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza claimed the lives of at least eighteen individuals.
In the Falouja area, three civilians lost their lives in an Israeli airstrike on Jabalia.
There were further reports of Israeli shelling in and around Gaza City, specifically in the areas of Shujaiya, Tuffah, and Sheikh Radwan.