IDF forces have entered Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City through the southern entrance, for the second time, with bulldozers, the Palestinians reported Wednesday night.
The head of the burns department in the hospital said that gunfire could be heard and that bulldozers were clearing vehicles from the entrance to allow military hardware to enter.
Earlier, the IDF released evidence of Hamas weapons and military command centers inside the Al Shifa hospital complex during a raid on the medical center.
"During searches in one of the hospital's wards, the troops located a room with technological assets, along with military and combat equipment used by the Hamas terrorist organization," the army said in a statement, adding that troops engaged and killed several Hamas terrorists inside the hospital complex.
"In another ward, the soldiers located an operational command center and technological assets belonging to Hamas, indicating that the terrorist organization uses the hospital for terrorist purposes."
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday called for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip for a "sufficient number of days" to allow humanitarian aid access.
The United States, Russia and Britain, who are council veto powers, abstained from the vote on the resolution drafted by Malta. The remaining 12 members voted in favor.
A U.S. Navy warship shot down a drone in the Red Sea that emanated from Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday, in what appeared to be only the second time the United States has brought down projectiles near its warships since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.
Speaking anonymously, the officials said the Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, took down the drone early morning local time.
The officials did not say whether the drone was armed or how close it came to the ship before being shot down.
After 18 hours of quiet, Hamas fired rockets at Ashkelon and the surrounding area on Wednesday afternoon. Damage was caused when a rocket fell inside the city but no injuries were reported. At the same time, sirens warned of incoming fire on the upper Galilee, again after long hours of calm on the northern border. The IDF launched attacks in South Lebanon in response.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that a deal was being negotiated by Qatar that would include the release of 50 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a 3-day ceasefire and the release of 50 Palestinians convicted for terrorism from Israeli prisons. According to the agency, Hamas agreed to the general outlines of this deal but Israel had not and negotiations were still taking place.
"The deal, under discussion, which has been coordinated with the U.S., would also see Israel release some Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails and increase the amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza, the official said."
The families of hostages held by Hamas were on the second day of the march to Jerusalem to call on the government to do all that was necessary to free their loved ones.
The Bank of Israel called on the government to stop the transfer of funds to coalition parties from the 2024 budget. "There is much importance in the government blocking new expenses now," the Bank said in a statement. The move indicates that Bank chairman Amir Yaron had positioned himself alongside, Finance Ministry officials who have been opposing Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's decision to continue providing coalition parties with funds agreed on before the war, out of the 2023 budget and refused to announce he would block the transfer of such funds out of the 2024 budget. The funds are needed to meet the financial demands brought on by the war in Gaza, to provide solutions for the victims of the Hamas atrocities and for displaced Israelis who were told to move away from the southern and northern borders.
The government was urged to dissolve ministries created upon its rise to power, which were established to satisfy coalition parties' demands for ministerial positions for their members. These ministries are now deemed wasteful and costly, and their budgets are proposed to be redirected toward the war effort.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Israel was a "terror state" committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza while repeating his view that Hamas was not a terrorist organization.
Speaking to lawmakers in parliament, Erdogan also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce whether Israel had nuclear bombs or not, and added that the Israeli premier was a "goner" from his post. He said Hamas was a political party that Palestinians had elected.
The IDF said on Wednesday that forces were operating in a specific area of Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. "We can confirm that incubators, baby food and medical supplies brought by IDF tanks from Israel have successfully reached Al Shifa Hospital. Our medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need," the military said in an announcement.
The BBC claimed IDF soldiers were targeting Arabic speakers including doctors at the hospital but then apologized for the claim, saying it had misquoted a Reuters report that the IDF had come in with doctors and Arabic speakers.
The World Health Organization said it had lost touch with health personnel at Al Shifa. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the reports of the military incursion into the hospital were deeply concerning. "We've lost touch again with health personnel at the hospital. We're extremely worried for their and their patients' safety," he said on social media platform X.
In separate comments, U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Wednesday he was "appalled" by reports of the raids. "The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns," he wrote on X. "Hospitals are not battlegrounds."
The White House said it does not want to see fighting inside Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza after the IDF began operating inside the facility late on Tuesday.
"We do not support striking a hospital from the air and we don't want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people trying to get medical care they deserve are caught in the crossfire," said a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, who did not wish to be named. "Hospitals and patients must be protected," the spokesperson said.
An IDF spokesman said in an interview with CNN that forces are entering in order to reach a place "where we might defeat Hamas and release hostages."
"Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in Al Shifa Hospital," the spokesman said. "The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza."
The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare "for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields."
Both Israel and the United States have said that Hamas terrorists were using Gaza's hospitals to hide command posts and hostages using underground tunnels.
The IDF has also facilitated wide-scale evacuations of the hospital and maintained regular dialogue with hospital authorities. Israeli authorities claim the terrorists conceal military operations in Al Shifa Hospital. But with hundreds of patients and medical personnel inside, the military has refrained from entering.
First published: 07:19, 11.15.23