In a recent development, Hamas has pointed fingers at US President Joe Biden, holding him “wholly responsible” for the unfolding situation at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Israel, on the other hand, has initiated what it calls a “targeted operation” within the confines of Gaza’s largest hospital, alleging its use by Hamas as a command center.
This move, while aimed at the militant group, raises concerns about the well-being of thousands of sick and displaced Gazans seeking refuge within the hospital, inviting potential international backlash against Israel.
Israeli troops assert that the operation is “precise and targeted,” specifically directed at Hamas elements within the al-Shifa hospital. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) conveyed to Gaza’s authorities the demand for all military activities within the hospital to cease within a stipulated 12-hour timeframe, a call that unfortunately went unanswered. The IDF also called for the surrender of Hamas operatives present in the hospital.
According to the United Nations, an estimated 2,300 individuals, including patients, staff, and displaced civilians, are trapped inside the al-Shifa facility due to days of intense fighting and aerial bombardments. The dire situation has further worsened as the hospital, caring for 36 babies, faces fuel shortages that have led to the deaths of premature infants who were dependent on powered incubators.
Aid agencies and medical staff on the ground describe the conditions as “catastrophic,” with medical procedures being performed without anesthesia, families facing shortages of food and water in cramped corridors, and the pervasive stench of decomposing corpses in the air. Mohammad Abu Salmiya, the hospital director, grimly highlights the challenges, stating, “There are bodies littered in the hospital complex, and there is no longer electricity at the morgues.”
Both Israel and the United States allege that Hamas has been exploiting Gaza’s hospitals, including the al-Shifa complex, to conceal command posts and hostages using underground tunnels. In response, Hamas squarely places the blame on Israel and President Biden, accusing them of being “wholly responsible” for the assault on the Al-Shifa medical complex.
As tensions escalate and the humanitarian crisis deepens, the international community watches closely, grappling with the complex web of allegations and the immediate need to address the plight of those trapped in the crossfire at al-Shifa hospital.