Israel strikes south Gaza and raids a hospital in the north as war grinds on with renewed US support

AP , Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Israeli strikes killed at least 29 Palestinians in southern Gaza and troops raided one of the last functioning hospitals in the north as the country pressed ahead with its war on Tuesday with renewed backing from the United States, despite rising international alarm.

A smoke plume rises during Israeli bombardment at a position along the border with the northern Gaza Strip from a position in southern Israel. AFP


A strike on a home in Rafah where displaced people were sheltering killed at least 26 people, including women and children, and another killed at least three people, according to Associated Press journalists who saw the bodies arrive at two local hospitals early Tuesday.

Rafah, which is in the southern part of Gaza where Israel has told Palestinians to seek shelter, has been repeatedly bombarded in recent days.

Fierce battles raged in northern Gaza, where Hamas continues to put up still resistance across what is now a battered wasteland seven weeks after Israeli tanks and troops stormed in.


Israeli occupation forces raided the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City overnight and into Tuesday, according to the church that operates it, destroying a wall at its front entrance and detaining most of its staff.

Also known as the Baptist Hospital, it was the scene of an explosion early in the war that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Don Binder, a pastor at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, which runs the hospital, said the raid left just two doctors, four nurses and two janitors to tend to over 100 seriously wounded patients, with no running water or electricity.

“It has been a great mercy for the many wounded in Gaza City that we were able to keep our Ahli Anglican Hospital open for so long,” Binder wrote in a Facebook post late Monday. “That ended today.”

He said an Israeli tank was parked on the rubble at the hospital's entrance, blocking anyone from entering or leaving.

Israeli occupation forces have raided or attacked other hospitals across Gaza, including Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan.

In November, Israel raided and largely emptied Shifa Hospital and forced critically ill and wounded patients out of the hosiptal. Gaza's largest hospital is once again treating hundreds of wounded patients and sheltering tens of thousands of displaced people under harsh conditions, according to the World Health Organization, which described its emergency room as a “bloodbath.”

Witnesses said an Israeli strike hit the medical compound Monday, killing and wounding several people.


The U.N. Security Council delayed to Tuesday a vote on an Arab-sponsored resolution calling for a halt to hostilities to allow unhindered access to humanitarian aid. Diplomats said negotiations were taking place to get the U.S. to abstain or vote “yes” on the resolution after it vetoed an earlier call for a cease-fire.

France, the United Kingdom, and Germany — some of Israel’s closest allies — joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend. In Israel, protesters have called for negotiations with Hamas to facilitate the release of captives still held by the group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will keep fighting. For now, at least, he seems to have full U.S. support for a campaign that could last months or years.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said only that “the war will take time.”


CIA Director William Burns met in Warsaw with the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency and the prime minister of Qatar on Monday, the first known meeting of the three since the cease-fire, which they had played a key role in brokering. But U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the talks were not “at a point where another deal is imminent.”

Aiming to increase public pressure on the Israeli government, Hamas released a video late Monday showing three older Israeli hostages captives calling for Israel to bring them home.

The video signaled Hamas wants to move on to discussions of releasing sick and old men. Israel has said it wants around 19 women and two children released first. Hamas says the women include soldiers, for whom it is expected to make greater demands.

Hamas and other resistance groups are still holding an estimated 129 captives.

Israel has killed more than 19,400 Palestinians since the start of the war, most are women and children and thousands more are buried under rubble. 

Israel’s army says 131 of its soldiers have been killed in the Gaza ground offensive. It says it has killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence. 

Short link: