Israeli Forces Conduct Building-by-Building Searches at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza Amid Communications Blackout

GAZA: Israeli troops engaged in meticulous building searches at Gaza’s primary hospital, Al-Shifa, escalating concerns for Palestinian civilians trapped within the facility. The new communications blackout compounds fears for those inside.

Israel’s intensive air and ground operations, claiming over 11,500 Palestinian lives, including thousands of children, have targeted Al-Shifa in northern Gaza. The hospital has been under scrutiny since a raid on Wednesday, with Israel seeking a Hamas command center, a claim denied by both Hamas and hospital management.

Despite an extended search yielding no evidence of military activity, Israel defends its actions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested hostages might have been held at Al-Shifa. International concern arises as thousands, including wounded patients and premature babies, are believed trapped inside.

The blackout exacerbates the situation, hindering aid distribution and potentially leading to looting of UN supplies. Israel’s ongoing search includes negotiations for the release of captives in exchange for a temporary halt to hostilities, mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

Conditions for Palestinian civilians deteriorate rapidly, with over 1.5 million internally displaced. Israel’s blockade exacerbates the crisis, risking starvation. Hospitals, including Al-Shifa, face damage, limiting essential services. The UN Security Council’s call for humanitarian pauses in fighting, though passed, faces Israeli rejection. Concerns also rise about escalating violence in the West Bank.

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