Many people including those who had sought refugee at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital are fleeing amid Israeli troop’s ‘evacuation order’. According to hospital authorities, there are still over 100 critically injured and sick patients at the hospital, who could not be moved.
Reportedly, 450 wounded, patients with critical illness and unspecified number of premature babies are still at the hospital.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had denied ordering evacuation of Gaza’s biggest hospital. However, IDF said that they are providing ‘safe route’ for Gazans who wanted to evacuate the hospital.
“At no point, did the IDF order the evacuation of patients or medical teams and in fact proposed that any request for medical evacuation will be facilitated by the IDF,” said a statement.
According to health officials, an evacuation order from the military was received on Saturday morning following which they were evacuating the patients.
Amid the intensifying attacks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dar Es Salaam said that a Tanzanian citizen, who went missing on October 7, was confirmed dead. Nearly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas militants, claimed Israel. The hostage release talks were halted by Hamas amid the al-Shifa hospital attack.
Israel claimed that al-Shifa is the headquarters of Hamas, where they operate from underneath the hospital. The United Nations estimated 2,300 patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at al-Shifa before Israeli troops took control of the hospital.
The hospital director, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, told AFP that Israeli troops instructed him to ensure “the evacuation of patients, wounded, the displaced and medical staff, and that they should move on foot towards the seafront”.
Meanwhile, European Union Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday that only the Palestinian Authority can run Gaza after Israel-Hamas war is over.
"Hamas cannot be in control of Gaza any longer. So who will be in control of Gaza? I think only one could do that – the Palestinian Authority,” Borrell told the Manma Dialogue, an annual conference on foreign and security policy in Bahrain.
Amid intensifying fights, an attack on Khan Younis residential building in south Gaza city killed 26 people, reported The Guardian.
Fight spreading to south Gaza
With an aim to destroy Hamas, a fresh warning was issued to Palestinians in the southern city of Khan Younis to move out of line of fire and closer to humanitarian aid. The latest warning indicates Israel’s plans to attack Hamas in south Gaza, where Palestinians were asked to move by Israel when it encircled the north of Gaza.
“We’re asking people to relocate. I know it’s not easy for many of them, but we don’t want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire,” Mark Regev, an aide to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told MSNBC.
IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari has said Israeli troops will advance to anywhere Hamas exists, including the southern part of the Gaza. Civilians in parts of south-east Gaza were told in leaflets dropped by Israeli aircraft to move into a smaller “safe zone” in the coastal town of Mawasi, which covers just 14 sq km (5.4 sq miles), prompting warnings from the heads of 18 UN agencies and international aid groups.
Meanwhile, first consignment of fuel has entered Gaza after Israel agreed following US’s request for limited deliveries to allow wastewater treatment and the resumption of communications after a two-day blackout.
The White House said fuel should be allowed into the Gaza Strip “on a regular basis and in larger quantities”
Since the Hamas attack on October 7, as many as 12,000 Palestinians, including 5,000 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes.
(With agencies inputs)