Related: John Kirby confirms Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad use hospitals
Israel says its forces have entered the Al Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, as part of the IDF’s ground offensive against Hamas.
Gunfire and explosions were heard inside the hospital complex, which had been surrounded by Israeli forces in recent days but continued to operate with hundreds of patients and medical personnel still inside.
The IDF said it was conducting a “precise” operation against Hamas in a specific area of the complex while taking steps to avoid harm to civilians.
Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as cover for its fighters, alleging that Hamas has set up its main command centre in and beneath Al Shifa hospital. Both Hamas and hospital staff deny the Israeli allegations.
Earlier, Dr Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the Gaza health ministry, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces had raided the western side of the medical complex.
“There are big explosions and dust entered the areas where we are. We believe an explosion occurred inside the hospital,” Bursh said.
Just hours before the operation started the White House said it had its own intelligence that Hamas was using hospitals to run its military operations and store weapons. National security spokesperson John Kirby said the US does “not support striking a hospital from the air”.
Labour proposes amendment to King’s Speech as SNP urges MPs to call for ceasefire
Labour is to put forward an amendment to the King’s Speech to “reaffirm” its position on the conflict in the Middle East while the SNP has urged MPs to demand a ceasefire.
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has said parliament must “show moral leadership” and vote in favour of backing an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Labour said it is “not going to be engaging” with the amendment put forward by the SNP to the King’s Speech, but is to seek its own motion addressing concerns on both sides of the Middle East conflict.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 06:31
Israel ‘has become a country blinded by rage waging a war on children’
Israel has become a country “blinded by rage waging a war on children”, an Irish government minister has said.
Minister for higher education Simon Harris slammed the attack by Hamas on Israel in October as despicable.
He said that while Israel had the right to defend itself, it was not waging a war on children.
Mr Harris was speaking in the Irish parliament yesterday, following a question from Labour leader Ivana Bacik.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 05:55
Keir Starmer to stage showdown vote with Labour’s Gaza rebels
Sir Keir Starmer will stage a showdown vote in parliament today calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza in a bid to force Labour rebels who want a ceasefire to back his stance.
More than 65 Labour MPs – including 18 Labour frontbenchers – have defied Sir Keir’s position. Almost 50 councillors have quit the party and more than 330 local leaders have urged him to change position.
Our political correspondent Adam Forrest has more:
Namita Singh15 November 2023 05:48
In video: Speaker Johnson says calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire are ‘outrageous’
Speaker Johnson says calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire are ‘outrageous’
Mike Johnson said calls for Gaza ceasefire are “outrageous” during the ‘March for Israel‘ rally at Washington DC on Tuesday, 14 November. In his speech, the US House Speaker showed his support for Israel alongside Hakeem Jeffries and Chuck Schumer while the crowd chanted “No ceasefire.” Mr Johnson said: “Israel will cease their counter-offensive when Hamas ceases to be a threat to the Jewish state.” Hundreds of government workers, members of President Joe Biden’s campaign and Democratic Party employees have pressed the administration to support a ceasefire in Gaza following the deaths of thousands of civilians under Israel’s ongoing bombardments.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 05:47
Israel’s move toward Al Shifa raises concerns about protection of medical facilities under international laws
Israel’s move toward Al Shifa hospital has raised questions about how it would interpret international laws on the protection of medical facilities and the thousands of displaced people sheltering there, UN human rights officials have said.
Hospitals are protected buildings under international humanitarian law. But allegations that Shifa is also being used for military purposes complicated the situation because that would also breach international law, UN officials have said.
Medical units used for acts harmful to the enemy, and which have ignored a warning to stop doing so, lose their special protection under international law.
Israel said in its statement yesterday that it had given Gaza authorities 12 hours to cease military activities within the hospital. “Unfortunately, it did not,” the military statement said.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 05:31
UN chief calls for ‘humanitarian ceasefire’
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres was deeply disturbed by the “dramatic loss of life” in Gaza hospitals, his spokesman said. “In the name of humanity, the secretary-general calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” the spokesperson told reporters.
Medical officials in Hamas-run Gaza say more than 11,000 people are confirmed dead from Israeli strikes, around 40 per cent of them children, and countless others were trapped under rubble.
Around two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been made homeless, unable to escape the territory where food, fuel, fresh water and medical supplies are running out.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 04:57
Dire conditions in Al Shifa hospital amid IDF strike
Al Shifa is a sprawling complex of buildings and courtyards a few hundred metres from Gaza City’s fishing port. Buildings on the western side of the complex, which the Gaza official said was the site of the raid, include the internal medicine and dialysis departments.
Hamas says 650 patients and 5,000 to 7,000 other civilians are trapped inside the hospital grounds, under constant fire from Israeli snipers and drones. Amid shortages of fuel, water and supplies, it says 40 patients have died in recent days.
Thirty-six babies are left from the neo-natal ward after three died. Without fuel for generators to power incubators, the babies were being kept as warm as possible, lined up eight to a bed.
Palestinians trapped in the hospital dug a mass grave yesterday to bury patients who died and no plan was in place to evacuate babies despite Israel announcing an offer to send portable incubators, Qidra, Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson, said.
Qidra said there were about 100 bodies decomposing inside and no way to get them out.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 04:56
Families of hostages held by Hamas begin protest march
Families and supporters of the around 240 people being held hostage by Hamas started a protest march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The plight of the hostages has dominated public discourse since the 7 October attack, with solidarity protests held across the country.
The marchers, who expect to reach Jerusalem on Saturday, say the government must do more to bring home their loved-ones.
“Where are you?” Shelly Shem Tov, whose 21-year-old son, Omer, is among the captives, called out to Benjamin Netanyahu. “We have no strength anymore. We have no strength. Bring back our children and our families home.”
Namita Singh15 November 2023 04:42
Jewish groups condemn appearance of controversial televangelist at March for Israel
A controversial Christian televangelist who once suggested Adolf Hitler was sent by God addressed one of the largest gatherings of Jewish Americans in decades.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 04:39
Fighting around Al Shifa Hospital has turned it to a ‘cemetery’
Fighting has raged for days around the Al Shifa Hospital complex at the centre of Gaza City that has seen it “turned into a cemetery,” its director said in a statement.
The Gaza health ministry said 40 patients, including three babies, have died since Al Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday. Another 36 babies are at risk of dying because there is no power for incubators, according to the ministry.
The Israeli military said it started an effort to transfer incubators to Al Shifa. But they would be useless without electricity, said Christian Lindmeier, a World Health Organization spokesperson.
The health ministry has proposed evacuating the hospital with the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross and transferring the patients to hospitals in Egypt, but has not received any response, spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.
While Israel says it is willing to allow staff and patients to evacuate, some Palestinians who have made it out say Israeli forces have fired at evacuees.
Namita Singh15 November 2023 04:21