By Nidal al-Mughrabi
CAIRO (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers raided a hospital in northern Gaza over several days this week, leaving a trail of rubble and upturned earth in the hospital grounds and outside the shattered entrance, video images show, amid conflicting accounts of the events.
The Gazan health ministry said Israeli troops made hundreds of internally displaced persons taking refuge inside the Kamal Adwan hospital leave, and evacuated wounded patients and medical staff to the hospital grounds.
Citing the ministry’s reports, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier this week said he was “extremely worried” about the situation at the hospital.
The Israeli military said the hospital was being used as a Hamas “command and control centre” and that soldiers had detained around 80 militant fighters before leaving the site on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Gazan authorities said some 70 medical staff were detained by Israel in the raid.
Video obtained by Reuters showed two bodies in shrouds, an injured boy along with a wrecked car, smashed and burnt walls and piles of abandoned belongings at the hospital. Reuters could not determine the cause of the fatalities or the injuries.
“They raided the building, and they took all the employees for investigation, also the injured people were being investigated,” said Ahmed Al Kahlot, a doctor at the hospital, dressed in green scrubs.
The military released video on Saturday it said showed soldiers shooting at the hospital, finding weapons hidden in medical apparatus, and displaying several guns and grenades.
Reuters could not independently verify the accounts of the events.
Reuters was also unable to verify reports, including from the Palestinian health minister Mai AlKaila, citing witnesses who claimed civilians were buried under earth moved by Israeli army bulldozers in the vicinity of the hospital.
Israel did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the allegations.
Because of the war in the fenced-off coastal enclave, only 11 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are functional, the U.N. humanitarian affairs agency said this week.
Gaza is home to 2.3 million people, most of whom have been displaced from their homes by the offensive launched by Israel in retaliation for Hamas’ Oct. 7 incursion that killed around 1,200 people. Some 19,000 Gazans have been killed during the invasion.
(Reporting by Nidal Al Mughrabi; editing by Jonathan Oatis)