Israeli airstrike destroys Al Shifa hospital’s cardiac ward

A Hamas health official said Sunday that an Israeli air strike destroyed the cardiac ward of Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, as fighting raged around the facility.

“The occupier (Israel) completely destroyed the cardiac department of Al-Shifa hospital… The two-storey building has been completely destroyed in an air strike,” Youssef Abu Rish, deputy health minister in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, said.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But it has previously denied deliberately targeting the hospital and has repeatedly accused Hamas of using medical facilities or tunnels underneath them as command centers and hideouts – a charge Hamas denies.

An Israeli military statement on Sunday said soldiers “opened and secured a passage which enables the civilian population to evacuate, on foot and by ambulances, from the Shifa, Rantisi and Nasser hospitals.”

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