Israel’s Controversial Raid on Gaza’s Largest Hospital as Ground War Expands
In a controversial move, Israeli forces stormed into Gaza’s largest hospital this week, searching for evidence of Hamas activity as the military pushes forward with a widening ground offensive.
The daylong raid on Shifa Hospital in Gaza City brought tension and turmoil, with conflicting accounts emerging amid the chaos. The Israeli army contends it seized weapons and tunnels in the hospital’s basement and surrounding areas. However, hospital officials described terrified patients and staff as soldiers who forcibly searched through buildings and aggressively questioned people inside. Each side accused the other of cynically using the hospital and the presence of patients as human shields.
Shifa Hospital is a sprawling complex that employs some 1,500 people and maintains over 500 beds, according to the Palestinian news agency. Israel had encircled the compound for days before launching the raid around 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Forces remained entrenched around the hospital into the evening hours, with tanks stationed menacingly outside and snipers positioned on nearby buildings.
The army said it killed militants near the perimeter of the hospital but reported no clashes inside the buildings themselves. Hospital officials largely corroborated that account, condemning the disruptive intrusion while not reporting active shootouts inside the facility. The military maintains the Shifa raid was a “precise and targeted operation” that included medical teams to provide care. However, the United Nations and other rights groups harshly criticized the move as a dangerous endangerment of civilians that violated international law. In addition, you can also read an article on- Israel vs Palestine Conflict History: Casualties, Peace Attempts, and More
Video released by the Israeli military from inside Shifa showed duffel bags supposedly containing weapons hidden around an MRI lab, as well as a closet stocked with assault rifles. Officials also said they confiscated tunnels and a laptop for examination. But the evidence provided so far remains disputed, with independent verification lacking. Critics contend that even if some weapons were present, the scale of the hospital siege was disproportionate and recklessly imperiled patients.
At various points in recent days, tens of thousands of Palestinians had fled to Shifa Hospital, seeking shelter from Israeli bombardment. Most evacuated the premises as fighting encroached closer. The fate of premature babies in the hospital’s neonatal unit has drawn particular international concern, especially after backup generators ran out of fuel over the weekend.
Israeli officials justified the hospital raid by claiming Hamas uses medical facilities to conceal militant activities and hostages. They cited intelligence indicating that tunnels and operational centers are located under Shifa. The military says it is searching aggressively for Hamas-held captives, though no hostages appeared to have been freed in the Shifa incursion. Additionally, you can also read about- Gaza Hospitals Desperate for Supplies as Israeli Airstrikes Bring Chaos
For its part, Hamas denies that it locates military facilities in or under Shifa Hospital. Critics say Israel has provided insufficient evidence to warrant putting patients and civilians at grave risk. Some point to parallels with unfounded Russian claims that Ukraine has sited bioweapons labs in its hospitals.
Far from Shifa Hospital, conditions in Gaza’s south have been deteriorating rapidly as bombardment by Israel continues to take a devastating toll. The intensity of air strikes and shelling has left much of the territory and its infrastructure in ruins. Food shortages are mounting, and residents report having to cook over wood fires due to a lack of fuel. Central electricity and water networks have been non-functional for weeks across the region.
After refusing to allow fuel into Gaza since the start of recent hostilities, Israel has now permitted some fuel access for operations by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA. But the 24,000 liters allowed in fall far short of civilian needs. UN officials say it will only provide around 9% of the minimum fuel requirements for UN activities alone. Critically, the fuel cannot be used by hospitals or to run water treatment plants.
As Israeli troops consolidate control across northern swathes of Gaza, military and political leaders have signaled plans to further expand ground offensives into the south. Their aim is to drive Hamas from its remaining strongholds. However, uncertainties remain about where trapped Gazan civilians could safely flee, with Egypt keeping its border closed and many homes already turned to rubble.
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Israel’s political leadership is facing growing criticism over strikes that have caused extremely high civilian casualties, as well as targeting crucial infrastructure. There are heightened calls for accountable rules of engagement as the ground invasion drags on. The controversial raid on Shifa Hospital this week has become a prime exhibit of what critics see as reckless disregard for avoiding civilian harm.