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Published: 09:41, November 16, 2023 | Updated: 17:31, November 16, 2023
Israeli army raids Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital despite ceasefire calls
By Xinhua
Published:09:41, November 16, 2023 Updated:17:31, November 16, 2023 By Xinhua

In this image taken from a video released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Nov 15, 2023, Israeli soldiers walk in the area of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. (PHOTO / IDF VIA AP)

JERUSALEM/GAZA/ANKARA - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Wednesday that IDF troops had raided Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Gaza's largest hospital, adding evidence was found there "proving beyond any doubt that Hamas operated a military command center inside."

However, video footage and photos released by the army on the social media platform X only presented some weapons and ammunition, with limited evidence suggesting the hospital housed military headquarters, contrary to Israel's repeated claims.

The photos of the findings showed rifles and rifle cartridges, vests and uniforms, shoes, and a green headband believed to be used by Hamas's military wing.

In a video released by the IDF, its spokesman Jonathan Conricus toured the hospital's MRI unit, displaying what he claimed was military equipment found there, as well as a laptop which he said provided "a lot of incriminating evidence."

Speaking to soldiers in southern Israel on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel's forces might expand the fighting in the Gaza Strip from the northern part to other areas

The video also showed damage to the hospital building, including a completely shattered door.

In response, Hamas said the Israeli army's saying of weapons found in the Al-Shifa Complex is "a blatant lie that serves to justify its crime aimed at destroying the healthcare sector in the enclave."

ALSO READ: Hostage families appeal for return of loved ones in Gaza ceasefire

The hospital director, Mohammed Abu Selmeia, told reporters that the Israeli army forces withdrew on Wednesday evening from inside Al-Shifa Complex, 16 hours after storming it, "but tanks and forces are stationed completely in its vicinity."

Earlier today, Abu Selmeia said dozens of Palestinian employees were detained by Israeli troops who entered the hospital in an alleged "targeted and precise operation" against Hamas.

This image provided by Maxar Technologies shows al-Shifa hospital and surroundings in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (PHOTO / MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES VIA AP)

Speaking to soldiers in southern Israel on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel's forces might expand the fighting in the Gaza Strip from the northern part to other areas. "They told us not to enter Al-Shifa -- we entered it. It is in this spirit that we say something simple: There is no place in Gaza that we cannot reach," he said.

His warning came despite calls for a ceasefire by international humanitarian organizations and a new Qatari proposal for the release of women and children hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children prisoners held in Israel.

Also in the day, about 500 relatives of Israeli hostages continued their march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for the second day.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's wife Sara urged the immediate release of hostages held in Gaza and requested the Red Cross to visit them promptly.

ALSO READ: Lebanon files UN complaint over Israeli attack on journalists

The spokesperson for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, Majed bin Mohammad Al Ansari, said on Wednesday that despite Qatar's efforts to mediate the release of hostages, Israel's continued bombing in the Gaza Strip complicates the efforts to rescue hostages held there.

A Palestinian cancer patient, who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt, is carried on a stretcher after arriving at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara on Nov 16, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

In Ankara, twenty-seven patients from Gaza, most of whom are cancer patients who need urgent treatment, arrived in the Türkish capital on early Thursday with their 13 attendants.

These patients would be the first Gazans to travel from Egypt to another country for treatment, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

READ MORE: Israel rejects UN's call for extended humanitarian pauses in Gaza

"We established a health coordination team consisting of technical committees to bring patients to our country, especially cancer patients," the minister said.

Israel has been carrying out an all-out attack on Gaza over the past weeks and has imposed a siege on the enclave to retaliate against the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on Oct 7, during which Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostages. The conflict has also led to the deaths of over 11,500 Palestinians in Gaza.  

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