Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates

Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates
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Israeli soldiers walk at the Al-Shifa hospital complex in this still image from handout video obtained Nov. 15, 2023. (Israeli Defense Forces via Reuters)
Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates
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Medical staff look at the damage in the smoke-filled wards inside Al-Shifa hospital following an Israeli raid on Nov. 15, 2023. (Gaza Ministry of Health via Reuters)
Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates
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Medics move a patient through the smoke-filled corridors inside Al-Shifa hospital following an Israeli raid on Nov. 15, 2023. (Gaza Ministry of Health via Reuters)
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Updated 15 November 2023
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Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates

Israeli troops enter Gaza’s Shifa hospital after gunbattle at gates
  • World attention focused on fate of hundreds of patients and thousands of displaced civilians trapped inside

GAZA: Israeli troops entered Gaza’s biggest hospital on Wednesday and were searching its rooms and basement, witnesses said, culminating a siege that caused global alarm after what Israel said was a deadly clash at the gates.
Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City has become the main target of the ground operation by Israeli forces, who say Hamas fighters have their headquarters in tunnels beneath it, which Hamas denies.
World attention has been focused on the fate of hundreds of patients and thousands of displaced civilians trapped inside. Gaza officials say many patients including three newborn babies have died in recent days as a result of Israel’s encirclement of the facility.
Israel said its troops killed fighters in a clash outside the gates, and had brought medical supplies for those inside.
“Before entering the hospital our forces were confronted by explosive devices and terrorist squads, fighting ensued in which terrorists were killed,” the Israeli military said.
“We can confirm that incubators, baby food and medical supplies brought by IDF tanks from Israel have successfully reached the Shifa hospital. Our medical teams and Arabic speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need,” the Israeli military said.
Dr. Ahmed El Mohallalati, a surgeon, told Reuters by phone that staff were in hiding as the fighting unfolded outside the hospital overnight.
“So yesterday early evening it started... shooting around the hospital and within the hospital. And the sound was really horrible. Look, you can feel that it’s, you know, it’s very near to the hospital,” he said.
“And then we realized that the tanks are moving around the hospital. One of the big tanks entered within the hospital from the eastern main gate, and they were, they were they just parked in the front of the hospital emergency department.”
“All kinds of weapons were used around the hospital. They targeted the hospital directly. We try to avoid being near the windows,” he said.
Another witness inside the hospital, reached by telephone, said tanks had entered the compound at 3:00 a.m. The Israeli troops dismounted and spread out in the yard, and began searching the basement and entering buildings.
“It was very dangerous looking from the glass window. The administration of the hospital told us the occupation army informed them they wanted to search us and search room by room. I am very scared,” the man said, asking that his name be withheld for fear of Israeli reprisals.
“There was no shooting because there were no gunmen inside the facility. The soldiers were acting freely as were people inside the hospital, the doctors, the wounded and the displaced,” the man said. He later said that gunfire could occasionally be heard and he was remaining in hiding.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa hospital.”
Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN the hospital and compound were for Hamas “a central hub of their operations, perhaps even the beating heart and maybe even a center of gravity.”
The US said on Tuesday that its own intelligence supported Israel’s conclusions. Hamas said that amounted to giving Israel a “green light” for Israel to raid the hospital, and it held US President Joe Biden fully responsible for the operation along with Israel itself.


Hamas says US military aid to Israel ‘green light’ for Gaza ‘aggression’

Hamas says US military aid to Israel ‘green light’ for Gaza ‘aggression’
Updated 4 sec ago
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Hamas says US military aid to Israel ‘green light’ for Gaza ‘aggression’

Hamas says US military aid to Israel ‘green light’ for Gaza ‘aggression’
  • Condemns US House of Representatives’ approval of billions of dollars in new military aid to Israel
GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian militant group Hamas on Sunday condemned the US House of Representatives’ approval of billions of dollars in new military aid to Israel, much of which is to strengthen Israeli air defenses.
“This support, which violates international law, is a license and a green light for the Zionist extremist government (Israel) to continue the brutal aggression against our people,” Hamas said in a statement.

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad
Updated 3 min 59 sec ago
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Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad
  • Ebrahim Raisi will be accompanied by ‘a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister... as well as a large business delegation’

ISLAMABAD: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi will travel to Islamabad on Monday to meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said, as the two countries seek to mend ties following deadly cross-border attacks this year.
Raisi will be accompanied by “a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister... as well as a large business delegation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The tit-for-tat missile strikes in January in the porous border region of Balochistan — split between the two nations — stoked regional tensions already inflamed by the Israel-Hamas war.
Tehran carried out the strikes against an anti-Iran group in Pakistan the same week it targeted Iraq and Syria.
Pakistan responded with a raid on “militant targets” in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, one of the few mainly Sunni Muslim regions in Shiite-dominated Iran.
Both countries have in the past accused each other of sheltering militants.
A visit to Islamabad by Tehran’s foreign minister led to the two sides pledging to improve dialogue and install liaison officers in both countries.
Sistan-Balochistan province has for years faced unrest involving cross-border drug-smuggling gangs and rebels from the Baloch ethnic minority, and Muslim extremists.
Raisi will also visit Lahore and Karachi to meet provincial leaders, according to the statement.
The countries will further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation in “trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts,” it added.
Pakistan is counting on a joint gas project with Iran to solve a long-running power crisis that has sapped its economic growth.
A $7.5-billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline intended to feed Pakistani power plants was inaugurated with great fanfare in March 2013.
But the project immediately stagnated following international sanctions on Iran.
Tehran has built its own section of the 1,800-kilometer (1,100-mile) pipeline, which should eventually link its South Pars gas fields to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, near Karachi.
In February, Pakistan’s outgoing caretaker government approved the construction of an 80-kilometer section of the pipeline, primarily to avoid the payment of billions of dollars in penalties to Iran due to years of delays.
Washington has warned that Pakistan could face US sanctions, saying it does not support the pipeline going forward.


Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines
Updated 20 min 24 sec ago
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Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines
  • During his tour the emir will speak with the countries’ leaders and senior officials

DUBAI: The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad began his state visit to Manila, the Philippine capital, on Sunday as part of his Asia tour, reported the Qatar News Agency.

Sheikh Tamim received a welcome at Maharlika Presidential Airport from a delegation including Rafael Perpetuo Lotilla, minister of energy; Ahmed bin Saad Al-Humaidi, ambassador of Qatar to the Philippines; and Lilibeth Velasco Puno, ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar, along with several senior officials from the Philippine government and members of the Qatari embassy.

Accompanied by an official delegation, Sheikh Tamim’s itinerary includes visits to Bangladesh and Nepal following his time in the Philippines.

During his tour, the emir will speak with the countries’ leaders and senior officials, focusing on ways to enhance cooperation and discussing issues of common interest.

Additionally, agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed across various fields.


Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097
Updated 21 April 2024
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Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097
  • The tally includes at least 48 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Sunday that at least 34,097 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The tally includes at least 48 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,980 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.


Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM
Updated 21 April 2024
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Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

DUBAI: Sultan Haitham of Oman will visit the UAE on Monday for talks with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, state news agency WAM reported. 

During the visit, both leaders will discuss “the deep-rooted, historical relations between the UAE and Oman and cooperation in various fields,” the agency said. 

The two leaders will also discuss a number of regional and international issues of common interest.