10:29 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023
Israel’s Raid on Al-Shifa Hospital: What You Need to Know
The Israeli military is carrying out a raid inside Gaza’s largest hospital, targeting Hamas militants alleged to be operating beneath the structure — an accusation both the group and hospital officials deny.
Thousands of Palestinians are seeking refuge in and around the hospital, where conditions have rapidly deteriorated as doctors work by candlelight and use foil to keep premature babies alive.
Here’s what we know so far:
The raid: The Israeli military announced it was “conducting a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital” in Gaza.
Hospitals are protected in times of war
under international humanitarian law, but Israel stated that Hamas’s “continued military use of the Shifa hospital jeopardizes its protected status.”
Israel claims it has given Hamas operatives adequate time to cease their alleged activities inside the building, according to a statement.
The US cited intelligence suggesting Hamas has a command node under the hospital, seemingly supporting Israel’s assertion. However, these claims cannot be independently verified by CNN.
Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner informed CNN that the presence of civilians at the hospital makes the ground operation there “challenging.” He added that Israeli forces were working to “mitigate” the impact, noting the presence of medics and Arabic speakers among those carrying out the raid.
What’s happening on the ground: Khaled Abu Samra, a doctor at the hospital, revealed they were given 30 minutes’ warning before the Israeli operation on the complex began.
“We were asked to stay clear of the windows and the balconies. We can hear the armored vehicles, they are very close to the entrance of the complex,” he said.
Khader Al Za’anoun, a journalist inside the hospital, told CNN
that Israeli tanks had moved into the hospital complex, and there were gunfire exchanges across the yard. It’s unclear whether there are IDF soldiers inside the hospital buildings, Al Za’anoun said.
What Palestinian authorities have said: Palestinian Health Minister Dr. Mai Al-Kaila condemned the raid as “a new crime against humanity, medical staff, and patients,” warning of potentially catastrophic consequences.
The ministry is based in Ramallah, separate from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza.
Hamas blamed both Israel and the US for the raid, claiming that the US had given Israel “a green light … to commit more massacres against civilians” based on Israel’s “false narrative” of Al-Shifa being used as a command center.
The statement accused the UN of failing to defend Palestinians, saying, “The silence of the United Nations and the betrayal of many countries and regimes will not deter our Palestinian people from clinging to their land and their legitimate national rights.”