Israel raids main Gaza hospital as Rafah concerns grow

Update Children rest outside, as Palestinians arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation. (Reuters)
Children rest outside, as Palestinians arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 16 February 2024
Follow

Israel raids main Gaza hospital as Rafah concerns grow

Children rest outside, as Palestinians arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.
  • MSF said people ordered by Israel to evacuate hospital faced impossible choice to stay “and become a potential target” or leave into “apocalyptic landscape” of bombings
  • Health authorities said Israel had forced out displaced people and families of medical staff sheltering in Nasser Hospital

JERUSALEM/DOHA: Israeli forces said on Thursday they had raided the biggest functioning hospital in Gaza, as video posted online showed chaos, shouting and the sound of shooting in darkened corridors that were filled with dust and smoke.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari described the raid on Nasser Hospital as “precise and limited” and said it was based on credible information that Hamas was hiding in the facility, had kept hostages there and that bodies of hostages may still be there.
A spokesperson for Hamas called Israel’s claim “lies.”
Health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave said Israel had forced out displaced people and families of medical staff sheltering in Nasser Hospital, with some 2,000 arriving in the southern border city of Rafah overnight and some pushing north to Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza.
The war began on Oct. 7 when Hamas sent fighters into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages according to Israeli tallies.
Israel’s air and ground offensive has since devastated tiny, crowded Gaza, killing 28,663 people, also mostly civilian, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run strip and forcing nearly all its inhabitants from their homes.
The UN humanitarian office had said on Wednesday that Nasser Hospital was besieged by Israeli forces with allegations of sniper fire at the facility, endangering the lives of medics, patients and thousands of displaced people.
The medical charity Medicins San Frontieres said people ordered by Israel to evacuate the hospital faced an impossible choice to stay “and become a potential target” or leave “into an apocalyptic landscape” of bombings.
Fighting at the hospital comes as Israel faces growing international pressure to show restraint in its Gaza war, after vowing to press its offensive into Rafah, the last relatively safe place for civilians in the enclave.
Attacks that have destroyed the majority of Gaza’s medical facilities have caused particular concern throughout the conflict, including Israeli raids on hospitals in other cities, shelling in the vicinity of hospitals and the targeting of ambulances.
As massive bombardment destroyed swathes of residential districts and forced most people from their homes, hospitals quickly became the focus for displaced people seeking shelter around buildings they thought more likely to be safe.
Israel accuses Hamas of regularly using hospitals, ambulances and other medical facilities for military purposes, and has aired footage taken by its troops that it says shows tunnels containing weapons below some hospitals.
The Israeli military said on Thursday it had apprehended a number of suspects at the Nasser Hospital and that its operations there were continuing.
Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel’s statement accusing the group of hiding fighters or keeping hostages at the hospital was “lies.” He added that “all previous Israeli allegations against hospitals had proven to be false.”

VIDEO SHOWS HOSPITAL CHAOS
Speaking about the hospital raid, Hagari said “this sensitive operation was prepared with precision and is being conducted by IDF special forces who underwent specified training.”
He said one objective of the operation was to ensure the hospital could continue treating Gazan patients and “we communicated this in a number of conversations we had with the hospital staff,” adding there was no obligation to evacuate.
Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said Israel had forced doctors at Nasser hospital to abandon patients in intensive care there, putting their lives in danger.
Videos that Reuters verified on Thursday as having been filmed inside Nasser Hospital, though it could not verify when, showed scenes of chaos and terror.
Men walked through dark corridors using the lights from their phones, with plaster dust swirling around and debris lying in the corridors, at one point wheeling a bed through a damaged area.
At one point in a video gunshots rang out and a doctor shouted “Is there anyone still inside? There is gunfire, there is gunfire — heads down.”
Another man in a video said the Israeli army had surrounded the hospital and nobody could get out.
The World Health Organization has previously said half the medical staff of Nasser Hospital had already fled.


Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media

Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media
Updated 5 sec ago
Follow

Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media

Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media
The election calendar was approved at the meeting of the heads of the judiciary, government, and parliament

TEHRAN: Iran announced Monday it will hold presidential elections on June 28, state media reported, following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash.
“The election calendar was approved at the meeting of the heads of the judiciary, government, and parliament,” state television said.
“According to the initial agreement of the Guardian Council, it was decided that the 14th presidential election will be held on June 28.”

US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden

US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden
Updated 20 May 2024
Follow

US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden

US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden
  • “This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners,” CENTCOM said
  • The Houthis did not claim credit for any fresh assaults on Monday, but they regularly do days later

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia launched a ballistic missile over the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, the US military said.
This comes as the Houthis intensified attacks on Yemeni government soldiers around the country.
The US military said in a statement on Monday morning Yemen time that at about 9:35 p.m. (Sanaa time) on Sunday, the Houthis launched one anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen over the Gulf of Aden, but neither the US-led coalition nor international commercial ships reported being hit by the missile.
“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” CENTCOM said.
The Houthis did not claim credit for any fresh assaults on Monday, but they regularly do days later.
The Houthis’ newest missile launch is part of an escalation of missile and drone strikes against commercial and navy ships in international seas near Yemen as well as in the Indian Ocean, which the Houthis claim are in support of Palestine.
The Houthis attacked dozens of ships with hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and drone boats during their campaign against ships, which started in November.
They also took control of one commercial ship and destroyed another.
The US military said on Saturday that a Greek-owned and operated oil tanker heading toward China in the Red Sea, flying the flag of Panama, barely avoided being struck by a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis.
Meanwhile, four Yemeni government troops were killed on Monday while battling the Houthis in the province of Taiz, bringing the total number of soldiers killed in Houthi attacks to 11 in less than a week.
Local media said that the government’s Nation’s Shield Forces engaged in heavy fighting with the Houthis in the Hayfan area, on the border between Taiz and Lahj provinces, that left four of its soldiers dead.
On Saturday, a soldier from the same Yemeni military unit was killed and another injured while defending their position in Haydan against a Houthi onslaught.
Six more Yemeni soldiers from the government’s Giants Brigades were killed on Saturday in fighting with the Houthis in the Al-Abadia region of Marib’s central province.
On Monday, the Houthis held a military burial procession in Sanaa for two of their troops killed while battling with Yemeni government forces.
The Houthis have organized similar funerals for hundreds of fighters who have died on the front lines ever since the UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect in April 2022.
At the same time, official media said that Yemen’s Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohsen Al-Daeri met the UN Yemen envoy’s military adviser, General Antony Hayward, in Aden on Sunday to discuss Houthi attacks on government troops across the country, peace efforts to end the war, and the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.
Al-Daeri said that the Houthis had breached agreements with the Yemeni government and would continue to pose a danger to international maritime lines as long as they controlled Yemeni territory on the Red Sea.
He also accused Iran of continuing to supply weapons and military officers to the Houthis through direct journeys from Iran’s Bandar Abbas port to the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah port.
On Monday, UN experts, including Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, urged the Houthis to release five members of the Bahai religious minority and to stop persecuting religious minorities in regions they control.
“We urge the de facto authorities to release these five individuals immediately and refrain from any further action that may jeopardize their physical and psychological integrity,” the experts said.
Armed Houthis abducted 17 Bahais, including five women, after bursting into a meeting in Sanaa a year ago, and they have refused to release them despite local and international requests.
According to the UN experts, the Houthis released 12 Bahais under “very strict conditions” after signing a written pledge not to communicate with other sect members, avoid religious activities and not leave cities without permission, and that the Houthis continue to hold five who are at risk of mistreatment by their captors.
“We are concerned that they continue to be at serious risk of torture and other human rights violations, including acts tantamount to enforced disappearance,” the UN experts said.


Egypt mourns death of Iran’s president

A person walks past a banner with a picture of the late Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on a street in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024.
A person walks past a banner with a picture of the late Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on a street in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024.
Updated 20 May 2024
Follow

Egypt mourns death of Iran’s president

A person walks past a banner with a picture of the late Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on a street in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024.
  • The Egyptian president expressed Egypt’s solidarity with the leadership and people of Iran during this tragic time

CAIRO: Egypt mourned the deaths of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Egypt’s presidency said in a statement: “It is with deep grief and sorrow that the Arab Republic of Egypt mourns the death of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and their escorts on Sunday in a tragic crash.

“President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi extends his sincere condolences to the people of Iran, asking Allah to envelop President Raisi and the deceased with his mercy and grant solace and comfort to their families.”

The Egyptian president expressed Egypt’s solidarity with the leadership and people of Iran during this tragic time.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry extended his condolences to the Iranian government and people over the deaths of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, according to ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

A helicopter carrying Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and several other officials crashed in mountainous terrain in the country’s northwest on Sunday. On Monday, Tehran announced the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation in the crash.

 


Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’

Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’
Updated 20 May 2024
Follow

Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’

Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’
  • Katz denounced the move as a “scandalous decision” that amounted to “a frontal attack... on the victims of October 7“
  • The minister added that Israel would establish a special committee to fight the ICC prosecutor’s efforts to secure a warrant

JERUSALEM: Israel on Monday slammed as a “historical disgrace” an application by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The prosecutor, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as top Hamas leaders on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that Khan “in the same breath mentions the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense of the State of Israel alongside the abominable Nazi monsters of Hamas — a historical disgrace that will be remembered forever.”
The prosecutor said he was seeking warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant for crimes including “wilful killing,” “extermination and/or murder” and “starvation.”
Katz denounced the move as a “scandalous decision” that amounted to “a frontal attack... on the victims of October 7” when Hamas launched their attack on Israel, sparking the Gaza war.
The minister added that Israel would establish a special committee to fight the ICC prosecutor’s efforts to secure a warrant, and also embark on a diplomatic push against it.
Katz said he planned to “speak with foreign ministers in leading countries of the world so that they oppose the prosecutor’s decision and announce that, even if orders are issued, they do not intend to enforce them on the leaders of the State of Israel.”


35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry

35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry
Updated 20 May 2024
Follow

35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry

35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry
  • 106 Palestinians were killed and 176 injured in the past 24 hours

DUBAI: More than 35,562 Palestinians have been killed and 79,652 injured in the Israeli military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Monday.
One hundred and six Palestinians were killed and 176 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.