Attacks continued in southern Gaza. An Israeli airstrike hit a residential building on the outskirts of the town of Khan Younis, killing at least 26 Palestinians, according to a doctor at the hospital where the bodies were taken.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel’s forces have begun operating in eastern Gaza City while continuing its mission in western areas. “With every passing day, there are fewer places where Hamas terrorists can operate,” he said, adding that the militants would learn that in southern Gaza “in the coming days”.
His comments were the clearest indication yet that the military plans to expand its offensive to the southern areas of Gaza where Israel had told Palestinian civilians to flee early in the war. The evacuation zone is already crammed with displaced civilians, and it was not clear where they would go if the offensive moves closer.
It was not clear how Al Shifa hospital evacuation occurred. The military said it had been asked by the hospital’s director to help those who would like to leave do so by a secure route.
Israel’s military said it did not order any evacuation. But Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, said the military had ordered the facility cleared, giving the hospital an hour to get people out.
A doctor at Al Shifa, Ahmed Mokhallalati, said on social media that about 120 patients remained, including some in intensive care and premature babies, and he and five other doctors were staying.
It also was not clear where those who left the hospital had gone: 25 of Gaza’s hospitals are non-functioning due to lack of fuel, damage and other problems, and the other 11 only partially operational, according to the World Health Organisation.
Israel has said hospitals in northern Gaza were a key target of its ground offensive aimed at crushing Hamas, claiming they were used as militant command centres and weapons depots, which both Hamas and medical staff deny. Israeli troops have encircled or entered several hospitals.
Internet and phone service have been restored to the Gaza Strip, ending a telecommunications outage that forced the UN to shut down critical aid deliveries.
The war, now in its seventh week, was triggered by Hamas’ October 7 attack in southern Israel, in which militants killed about 1200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted some 240 men, women and children. Fifty-two soldiers have been killed since the Israeli offensive began.
More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2700 have been reported missing, believed buried under rubble.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli military would have “full freedom” to operate within the territory after the war. The comments again put him in conflict with US visions for a post-war era in Gaza.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the US opposes an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza and envisions a unified Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank as a step toward a Palestinian state, long opposed by Netanyahu’s government.
Gaza has received only 10 per cent of its required food supplies each day in shipments from Egypt, according to the UN, and a shutdown of the water system has left most of the population drinking contaminated water, causing an outbreak of disease.
Dehydration and malnutrition are growing, with nearly all residents in need of food, according to the UN’s World Food Program.
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https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/patients-and-staff-leave-gazas-biggest-hospital-and-dozens-are-killed-at-a-crowded-refugee-camp-20231119-p5el1n.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Al-Shifa evacuated, Israel bombs refugee camp again