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Israeli army withdraws from Shifa hospital, leaving dozens of deaths

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-01 22:20
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This combination of pictures created on April 1 shows the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew from the complex housing the hospital on April 1, 2024 (top), and displaced Palestinians gathering in the yard of Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital on December 10, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

GAZA -- The Israeli army on Monday withdrew from the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after two weeks of military operation, leaving dozens of deaths and massive destruction, Palestinian security medical sources said.

The security sources told Xinhua that most of the hospital buildings were destroyed, burned, and attacked by the Israeli army, which turned the hospital out of service.

Medical and Civil defense crews pulled out dozens of decomposing bodies, including children, women, and medical staff, from the courtyards of the hospital, the security sources said.

"It is impossible to resume the work soon inside the hospital as the Israeli army deliberately destroyed all medical equipment in the complex, including operating rooms, intensive care, all specialized departments, and refrigerators for the dead," medical sources told Xinhua.

On March 18, the Israeli army carried out a sudden large-scale military operation on the Shifa hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza, under the pretext that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) used the hospital for military operations against Israel.

Israeli Army Spokesman Avichai Adraee said in a press statement that the army finished its military operation in the Shifa (...) the army killed and arrested dozens, including leaders of Hamas and the PIJ.

"The army found rifles, pistols, explosive materials, and dozens of mortar shells in the maternity ward, some of which were inside beds and pillows," Adraee added.

Al-Shifa Complex was established in 1946, subject to Israel in 1967, and to the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo Accords in 1994.

As a government entity affiliated with the Gaza-based Health Ministry, Al-Shifa Complex is the most significant health institution providing medical services in the Gaza Strip, which includes three specialized hospitals and employs 25 percent of the Gaza Strip's hospital workers.

The Hamas-run media office said in a press statement that "the Israeli army killed at least 400 Palestinians and arrested over 900 others during its military operation in the Shifa hospital."

It held Israel and the United States responsible for the Israeli "crimes" against the Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave.

Overall, at least 32,845 Palestinians have been killed and 75,392 wounded since Israel launched its retaliatory attack against Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli death toll from Hamas's surprise attack stands at 1,139, with about 100 still held hostage in Gaza.

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