‘Surrounded by tanks’: IDF encircles several Gaza hospitals

IDF tightens chokehold on Hamas as special forces engage in close-quarters combat with terrorists at several locations; in first since war’s onset, Palestinians seen leaving Shifa hospital

IDF forces are encircling several hospitals across the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian reported Friday morning as the war enters its 35th day.
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"I work at the Nasser Children's Hospital, we are encircled inside the hospital by tanks, and heavy fire is directed at us," read a plea for help from a hospital worker.
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אזור בית החולים שיפא בעזה
אזור בית החולים שיפא בעזה
Smoke billowing over Shifa Hospital in Gaza City
(Photo: REUTERS/Doaa Rouqa)
"We have no electricity, oxygen for patients, fresh water or saline water. Our situation is difficult and dangerous. I hope you will share my message on all social media platforms, so that at least action can be taken to safely evacuate the patients and displaced from the hospital."
Palestinians also reported that displaced Gazans staying in Shifa Hospital in western Gaza City were forced to leave as Israeli special forces were engaging in close-quarters combat with terrorists near the medical facility, which is used by Hamas as its command center in the northern Gaza Strip.
The hospital’s director said that medical staff “won’t leave the hospital, and we will not abandon the patients inside." He added, "We estimate that the hospital and its occupants will be bombed at any moment."
Director of Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital in northwestern Gaza City, Bakr Qaoud, told Al Jazeera that Israeli vehicles have been stationed around the hospital since Thursday.
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תיעוד פלסטיני: טנק מתקדם לעבר בית החולים אל רנתיסי בשכונת א-נסר בעזה
תיעוד פלסטיני: טנק מתקדם לעבר בית החולים אל רנתיסי בשכונת א-נסר בעזה
Israeli tank advances toward Al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza City's Nasr neighborhood
Qaoud emphasized that medical teams are unable to provide even the most basic medical services to patients, urging international organizations to protect the hospital staff and the displaced people inside.
Meanwhile, tanks and infantry units aboard Namer armored personnel carriers are advancing toward Shifa and other hospitals, as part of the intense combat in the heart of the city.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, the spokesperson for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera that "Israel has simultaneously attacked several hospitals in the Strip." He claimed that the IDF struck Shifa's courtyard, allegedly causing casualties.
The IDF did not directly address Al-Qudra's statements but said that they do not target civilians. Reuters noted that they were unable to verify the claims.
According to the IDF, "Where the world sees neighborhoods with schools, hospitals, scout groups, children's playgrounds and mosques, Hamas sees an opportunity to exploit."
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry reported that explosions were heard near the Indonesian Hospital in the Gaza Strip, causing damage to parts of the building.
However, the announcement did not specify who was responsible for the explosions, and there were no reports of casualties.
Indonesia reiterated its condemnation of "the cruel attacks on civilians and civilian facilities, including humanitarian establishments in Gaza."
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 18 out of 35 hospitals in the Strip, and 40 other medical centers, have been rendered unusable due to damage from attacks or due to fuel shortages.
The IDF's Arabic spokesperson released footage showing masses of Gazans leaving the northern Gaza Strip, stating, "These images demonstrate the tangible response to our calls and demands."
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לפי דיווחים פלסטינים: פליטים עזתים עוזבים את בית החולים שיפא
לפי דיווחים פלסטינים: פליטים עזתים עוזבים את בית החולים שיפא
Gaza civilians wave white flags as they leave Shifa Hospital in western Gaza City
He appealed to Gaza’s residents, "Do not heed what Hamas leaders say from their hotels abroad or from their arranged hideouts for themselves and their families."
Meanwhile, many Gazans were recorded leaving Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in the Palestinian enclave, housing thousands of patients and displaced peoples.
The Red Cross is in contact with the IDF regarding hospital evacuations, but most of its staff have left northern Gaza due to security concerns.
The head of Gaza's governmental press office said, "The forces are located around the hospital square in central Gaza, committing crimes in view of the international community, which is still unable to provide assistance to the city's residents."
The IDF said on Friday that Israeli forces killed "numerous" terrorists of Hamas's elite Nukhba force who participated in the October 7 massacre, including Ahmed Musa, a company commander and Omar Al-Hindi, a platoon commander, both were located in western Jabalya.
Ahmed Musa was involved in the invasion of the Zikim Base and the Yiftach Post located in Kibbutz Zikim. In the past day, he orchestrated attacks targeting IDF troops in the western Jabalya area.
Additionally, Mohammed Kahlout, commander of the sniper unit for Hamas’s Northern Brigade, was killed. Based on Shin Bet intelligence, IDF troops struck overnight 19 Hamas terrorists who planned to attack IDF troops.
Additionally, IDF forces targeted a shipping container situated on a beach that held around 20 rocket launchers. In an operation in Sheikh Ijlin, troops searched the southern part of the front and discovered a rocket launcher near residential buildings. All identified weapons were either destroyed or seized by the IDF.
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