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Israel launches deadly strike on Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital

Published : Tuesday, 21 November, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 258

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, Nov 20: Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said Monday Israeli forces had struck the Indonesian Hospital and killed at least 12 people, including patients, in the north of the war-torn Palestinian territory.

Dozens more were wounded and around 700 people remained trapped inside the "besieged" medical centre, said Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman of the ministry which has reported a death toll of more than 13,000 in Gaza.

Israel did not immediately comment but pushed on with its withering air and ground campaign aimed at destroying Hamas over the October 7 attacks it says killed 1,200 people and saw 240 dragged off as hostages.

The latest reported blow to Gaza's devastated health sector came as hopes rose that 31 premature babies evacuated from another hospital, Al-Shifa, would be taken from a Gaza clinic to safety in Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

Frantic diplomatic efforts were meanwhile underway to seal a deal for the release of some of the hostages. Mediator Qatar voiced hope on Sunday that an agreement was near, but Israel and Hamas have not yet reported that a deal is imminent.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war has reduced much of the coastal strip to rubble and seen Israeli troops raid, occupy and evacuate the biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, in recent days, which saw hundreds flee the area on foot toward southern Gaza.

Israel, backed by ally the United States, argues that Hamas has used vast tunnel networks below Al-Shifa for military purposes and showed recovered weaponry as proof, but was yet to reveal evidence of a major military headquarters below ground.

After another Gaza building was hit, in Deir al-Balah south of Gaza City on Sunday, rescuers searched through the debris for survivors and bodies, using the lights of their mobile phones in the rain.

"There are only children and women in the house and no one else," exclaimed one resident. "How can that give them (the Israeli army) an excuse to hit it? ...  We don't have any equipment to pull people out from under the rubble."

Alarm has surged over the dire humanitarian situation as the war rages into a seventh week.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 13,000 people, including thousands of children, according to the Hamas-run government, fuelling mounting global pressure for a ceasefire.

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA has described a "collapse of services" at hospitals across northern Gaza, amid shortages of electricity, fuel and medical supplies.    �AFP

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