Gaza officials say Israeli strike near Rafah hospital kills 11

AFP , Saturday 2 Mar 2024

The health ministry in Gaza said an Israeli strike hit tents housing displaced civilians near a hospital in the southern city of Rafah Saturday, killing 11 and wounding dozens.

Gaza
An injured man is transported on a stretcher at the Kuwaiti hospital following Israeli bombardment that hit a camp sheltering displaced Palestinians near the Emirati hospital, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 2, 2024. AFP

 

The Israeli army said it had carried out a "precision strike" in the area of the hospital that targeted militants from the Islamic Jihad group.

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on social media platform X that the reported strike was "outrageous and unspeakable".

A paramedic was among those killed and children were wounded in the blast close to the Emirati Maternity Hospital, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement.

"Eleven citizens were martyred and about 50 injured, including children, as a result of Israeli forces targeting tents of displaced people near the Emirati hospital," Qudra said.

Footage posted on social media, which AFP could not independently verify, showed bloodied bodies in the streets as crowds gathered, with men carrying away the wounded for treatment.

An AFP journalist saw wounded people being rushed on stretchers to the Kuwaiti Hospital, also in Rafah.

"Destruction is everywhere and there are many martyrs," said Rafah resident Belal Abu Jekhleh.

"Suddenly the glass shattered and a fire broke out. Everyone fled, some were martyred and others injured. I was injured in my hands and head, and my brother was also injured."

The Israeli army confirmed it struck near the area of the hospital.

"The precision strike was conducted against Islamic Jihad terrorists and no damage was caused to the hospital in the area," the army said in a statement.

Israeli troops have carried out multiple operations in and around hospitals in the Gaza Strip since they launched their offensive in the Palestinian territory.

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas militants of using hospitals for military purposes, something the Palestinian group denies.

An estimated 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, raising fears of mass casualties if Israel goes through with a planned ground invasion of the city.

Mediators are scrambling to secure a new truce ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.

Israel's military campaign on Gaza has killed at least 30,320 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry.

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