Tanks ‘crushed bodies’ at al-Shifa Hospital

  • Palestinians who fled the ongoing Israeli siege of al-Shifa Hospital say Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozers drove over at least four bodies and ambulances.
  • Israeli forces have also surrounded al-Amal and Nasser hospitals in southern Gaza.

    What is UNRWA and why is it important for the Palestinians?

    UNRWA was created by the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1949, to provide basic support including food, healthcare and education to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

    More than 700,000 Palestinians were forcefully displaced leading up to Israel’s creation in 1948, which Palestinians remember as the Nakba, or “the catastrophe”.

    The UNRWA operations are spread across the occupied West Bank – including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

    UNRWA supports some six million Palestinian refugees who live within and outside Palestine. It is like a quasi-state providing direct services, such as schools, primary health centres and other social services. It also provides loans to Palestinians.

    Read our explainer here on what UNRWA is and why it is important for the Palestinians.

    More people will die if aid is blocked: UNRWA official

    The UNRWA says Israel has barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is highest.

    Sam Rose, the UNRWA’s planning director, says the implications in Gaza are dramatic after almost six months of relentless war.

    “An independent authority warned last week of an imminent famine and people are already dying of starvation up in the north,” he said. “And this is essentially a dead sentence on many of those people.

    “The situation is particularly harsh in northern Gaza, where we estimate that about 250,000 people have been trapped.”

    He also stressed that blocking the UNRWA from delivering aid is a deliberate obstruction of life-saving assistance for a population already facing starvation.

    “More people will die.”

    No double standards at UN secretary-general’s office: Guterres

    “There might be double standards in many places in the world, but there is no double standard in the secretary-general of the UN,” he said.

    “For us, what matters are the principles, and the principles are the UN Charter, international law, territorial integrity of the countries, but also the international humanitarian law and the right of self-determination of people.”

    The UN chief said he sees “a growing consensus emerging in the international community to tell Israel a ceasefire is needed”.

    “But also, there is also a growing consensus to tell clearly to the Israelis that any ground invasion of Rafah could mean a catastrophic humanitarian disaster,” he added.

    UNSC resolution does not link Gaza truce to release of captives: Guterres

    Guterres says a UN Security Council resolution expected later today does not link a ceasefire in Gaza to the release of Israeli captives.

    In the resolution, “a ceasefire is required together with, but not in a linkage with, the unconditional release of all hostages”, he said.

    “And we have also claimed for the need for that release.”

    It is ‘absolutely fundamental’ to keep people in Gaza alive: Guterres

    In Amman, Guterres says it is “absolutely fundamental to preserve the life of the people in Gaza”.

    “We have been insisting on the need for a ceasefire.

    “In the beginning, our voice was relatively alone, but now we are seeing more and more of the international community recognising the same,” he said.

    UN chief Guterres doing a press briefing

    We have live footage of UN chief Guterres doing a press briefing in Amman, Jordan.

    Stay with us as we bring you major talking points from his briefing.

    Medical staff ‘managing with the bare minimum’ at Gaza hospital

    Husam Basheer, an orthopaedic surgeon working at the European Gaza Hospital near Khan Younis, says he and his staff are “managing with the bare minimum of resources” at the medical facility due to Israeli restrictions on medical aid entering the besieged enclave.

    “One day we wanted to do a plate and screw, which is a standard procedure for bone fixation, but we didn’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we’ve also lacked gauze which is a basic supply for surgery. We worked around the challenges we faced and managed in a different way, but the staff here are overwhelmed,” he said.

    WATCH: US ‘ruling out nothing’ if Israel invades Rafah

    US Vice President Kamala Harris says Washington has been “clear” that a military operation on Rafah in southern Gaza would be a “huge mistake”.

    “I have studied the maps. There is nowhere for those folks to go and we’re looking at about a million and a half people in Rafah who are there because they were told to go there,” Harris told ABC News.

    The US, Israel’s closest ally, has vetoed three resolutions demanding a ceasefire.

    Gaza hospitals under Israeli siege: What you need to know

    Three hospitals across Gaza are under siege by the Israeli forces, with Palestinians saying the army has been pinning down medical teams under heavy gunfire.

    Here is what we know about the situation in these hospitals:

    • Israel says it killed dozens of fighters and arrested 450 in the week-old operation in and around al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, adding that it located military equipment and infrastructure in the area.
    • Palestinians who fled the continuing Israeli siege of al-Shifa Hospital say Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozers drove over at least four bodies and ambulances.
    • Israel extended its attacks on medical complexes to al-Amal and Nasser hospitals in Khan Younis.
    • The Palestinian Red Crescent says one of its staff and a displaced person have been killed in al-Amal amid heavy bombardment and gunfire.
    • The NGO says the army demanded the complete evacuation of staff, patients and displaced people from al-Amal’s premises and fired smoke bombs to force out its occupants.
    • Khan Younis residents say troops also advanced and formed a cordon around Nasser Hospital under cover of heavy air and ground fire.

      Doctor says conditions inside European Gaza Hospital ‘unimaginable’

      Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anaesthetist at the European Gaza Hospital near Khan Younis, has described the situation inside the medical facility in southern Gaza as “unimaginable”.

      “This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds. Now, it has expanded to 1,000 beds,” she said.

      “There are around 22,000 displaced people sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.”

      Karydi is a member of an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) working with Medical Aid for Palestinians, the International Rescue Committee and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

      In a press release, the groups said their staff have witnessed “horrific scenes” at the hospital – one of Gaza’s last functioning medical facilities – with patients “dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition”.

      • Israeli military says Hamas fighters firing from inside al-Shifa Hospital

        The Israeli military claims that Hamas fighters have barricaded themselves inside al-Shifa Hospital and are throwing explosives from inside the maternity ward and emergency room.

        The Israeli military spokesperson added that Hamas fighters “hiding around the hospital” in Gaza City also fired at Israeli forces, “causing extensive damage to the hospital buildings”.

        The Israeli military has placed al-Shifa Hospital under a deadly siege for one week, claiming it’s targeting Hamas fighters hiding inside the medical complex. Scores of civilians have also been killed, however, with witnesses saying Israeli forces have carried out executions.

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