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Updated Mar 18, 2024, 10:44am EDT
securityMiddle East
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Semafor Signals

Israel raids Al-Shifa hospital again as famine is ‘imminent’ in northern Gaza

Insights from The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, and The Jerusalem Post

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REUTERS/Kosay Al Nemer
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The News

The Israeli military launched an overnight raid on Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, where it said Hamas militants had reassembled, leading to a five-hour long battle which Palestinian health officials claimed caused casualties among the thousands of patients and displaced Palestinians sheltering at the hospital.

The attack came as experts predicted Monday that a famine was ‘imminent’ in northern Gaza. Axios reported that U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to speak Monday in their first phone call since Feb. 15.

The IDF said the Al-Shifa raid was a “high-precision operation” following “concrete intelligence,” and that Israeli forces detained 80 suspected Hamas militants and killed the group’s head of internal security, Fa’aq Mabhouh.

The Al-Shifa hospital is located in the northern part of the enclave which Israeli forces had cleared during a previous controversial hospital raid in November.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said Monday’s attack caused a fire, leading women and children sheltering at the hospital to suffocate. “There are casualties, including deaths and injuries, and it’s impossible to rescue anyone due to the intensity of the fire and targeting of anyone approaching the windows,” the ministry said.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Renewed fighting at Al-Shifa hospital shows challenge of holding territory for the IDF

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Source:  
The Wall Street Journal

If senior Hamas militants have returned to Al-Shifa, it casts doubt on the IDF’s ability to maintain control over the areas of northern Gaza it previously cleared, one Qatari analyst told The Wall Street Journal. Israel’s military stormed the hospital site in November, saying that it housed a Hamas control center that was used to command militants and hold hostages. The operation came under strong international scrutiny, but Israel said it destroyed Hamas tunnels below the complex. One retired Israeli military officer told the Journal that Israel had significantly reduced its military presence in northern Gaza, allowing Hamas militants to sneak back to areas they had previously been pushed out of by the IDF.

Hundreds of thousands in northern Gaza face extreme levels of famine

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Sources:  
Al Jazeera, The Jerusalem Post

In northern Gaza, where the Al-Shifa hospital is located, famine is “imminent,” plunging hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into severe levels of starvation and malnutrition, a U.N.-backed report by a group of humanitarian organizations said Monday. Under current conditions, if Israel goes ahead with a ground offensive in Rafah, half the population of Gaza will face catastrophic levels of famine, the report said. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said Israel was using starvation as a “weapon of war,” and called on the country to let humanitarian aid in across its land border with Gaza. Israel rejected his comments, saying they had persisted in allowing aid, despite Hamas’s disruptions.

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