Top NewsIsraeli troops stormed the main Khan Younis hospital after...

Israeli troops stormed the main Khan Younis hospital after being ordered to evacuate it

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Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces attacked the main hospital in southern Gaza on Thursday, killing one patient and wounding six others inside the compound after Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military said it was a limited operation to search for the remains of hostages held by Hamas.

The raid came a day later The army tried to evacuate thousands of displaced people People take shelter at Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis, the center of Israel's offensive against Hamas in recent weeks. The war shows no sign of ending, and the risk of a wider conflict is growing as Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah step up attacks after a particularly deadly exchange on Wednesday.

The army said it had “credible intelligence” that Hamas was holding hostages in the hospital and that the hostages' remains may still be inside. Forces are carrying out a “precise and limited” operation there and will not forcibly evacuate doctors or patients, said chief army spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said. Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals and other public facilities To protect its fighters.

Released hostage told the Associated Press Last month she and two dozen other inmates were locked up at Nasser Hospital. International law prohibits the targeting of medical facilities, but They may lose that protection If they are used for military purposes.

Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qitra said Israel had launched a “massive incursion” with heavy gunfire, adding that wounded displaced people were still sheltering there. He said the army had ordered doctors to shift all patients to an old building that was not properly equipped for their treatment.

In an interview with the Al Jazeera network, he said, “Many people cannot leave, such as amputees, severe burns or the elderly.

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Separately, Israel carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon for a second day 10 civilians and three Hezbollah fighters were killed Wednesday in response to a rocket attack that killed an Israeli soldier and injured several others.

It was the worst firefight on the border since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Israel and Hezbollah, Hamas's ally, trade fire on a daily basis. raising the risks of a wider conflict.

Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for Wednesday's rocket attack. But Sheikh Nabil Gauq, a senior member of the group, said it was “prepared for the possibility of an escalation of the war” and that it would “escalate with escalation, displacement with displacement and destruction with destruction”.

Meanwhile, negotiations on a ceasefire in Gaza It seems to have stalledAnd Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised Continue the attack Until Hamas is destroyed and numerous hostages are taken October 7 attack The belligerents were sent back.

Scenes of panic in a hospital

Nasser Hospital is the latest epicenter of operations that have devastated Gaza's health sector, as it struggles to treat scores of patients injured in daily bombings.

A video of the aftermath of the overnight strike shows doctors scrambling to carry patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust. A doctor used a cell phone flashlight to illuminate a dark room. The Associated Press could not verify the videos but said they were consistent with its report.

Dr. Khaled Ulsar, one of the remaining surgeons at Nasser Hospital, told the AP that seven patients who were attacked early Thursday were already receiving treatment for past injuries.

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“The situation is escalating every hour and every minute,” he said.

Last month, the army had ordered the evacuation of Nasser Hospital and its surrounding areas. But like other health facilities, doctors said patients could not be safely evacuated or transferred, and thousands of people displaced by fighting elsewhere remained there.

“People are forced into an impossible situation,” said Lisa Maciner of the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

“Stay at Nasser Hospital against the orders of the Israeli army and become a potential target, or leave the compound in an apocalyptic landscape where bombings and evacuation orders are part of everyday life.”

The International Aid Group, also known by its French acronym MSF, said its staff had to leave the hospital on Thursday, leaving behind patients and one staff member detained outside the facility at an Israeli checkpoint.

There is no end to the monthly battle

The war began on October 7 when Hamas fighters broke through Israel's heavily fortified defenses and attacked several communities, killing around 1,200 people. Another 250 people were held as hostages. More than 100 of those held during last year's ceasefire were released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

There are about 130 prisoners in Gaza, a fourth of whom are believed to be dead. Netanyahu has come under intense pressure from the hostages' families and the wider public to strike a deal to protect their freedom, but his far-right coalition partners could topple his government if he is seen as too soft on Hamas.

Israel retaliated against the October 7 attack One of the deadliest and most destructive military campaigns In recent history. More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed, 80% of the population has fled their homes and a quarter are starving amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Large swathes of northern Gaza, the first target of the offensive, have been completely destroyed

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Hamas continues to attack Israeli forces in all areas of Gaza and says it will not release all remaining prisoners until Israel ends its offensive and withdraws. Hamas is also demanding the release of scores of Palestinian prisoners, including high-ranking militants.

Netanyahu rejected those claims, calling them “delusional”. He says Israel will soon expand its offensive to Rafah, a city in southern Gaza bordering Egypt. More than half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million Has taken refuge in Rafah After fighting elsewhere on the coast and fleeing.

At least 28,663 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and militants. 68,000 people were injured in the war.

Airstrikes in central Gaza late Wednesday killed at least 11 people, including four children and five women, according to hospital records. Outside the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central city of Deir al-Bala, relatives wrapped white shrouds around the bodies before they were placed on a truck for burial.

One man struggled to let go, lay down and cried while holding a body against the truck.

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Mru reported from Beirut and Litman from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karim Chehayeb in Beirut contributed to this report.

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Find out more about AP's coverage https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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