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Israel-Gaza live updates: IDF says it’s carrying out ‘targeted operation’ in Al-Shifa Hospital

The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday morning that its ground troops are continuing to carry out “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.

“The activity in this specified area is based on operational necessities, as well as intelligence information that indicates Hamas terrorist activity is being directed from the area,” the IDF said in a statement. “Prior to their entry, the IDF troops encountered explosive devices and terrorist cells, and an engagement began in which terrorists were killed.”

The raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City began after midnight local time, after Israeli forces had moved closer to the medical complex for several days. Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said gunfire was heard on the hospital grounds and Israeli troops entered through the main building and the emergency department.

Thousands of civilians, along with hundreds of patients — most of whom are seriously ill — have been sheltering at Al-Shifa, according to hospital staff and Gaza health officials.

The IDF alleges that Hamas has placed its command centers under Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza and is deliberately sheltering behind Palestinian civilians — claims which the militant group denies.

The IDF said Wednesday that its troops “are conducting searches for Hamas terror infrastructure and weapons” at Al-Shifa Hospital. They also “delivered humanitarian aid to the entrance of the hospital,” according to the IDF.

Doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital have been warning of its imminent collapse due to a lack of electricity as well as limited fuel and medical supplies.

-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti, Sohel Uddin and Morgan Winsor

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