Israel-hamas-gaza

Israeli Strike Near Rafah Hospital Kills at Least 11, Gaza Officials Say


An Israeli strike outside a hospital in Rafah, in southern Gaza, on Saturday killed at least 11 people and injured dozens of other displaced Palestinians, including children, who were sheltering in tents nearby, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

At least two health care workers, including a paramedic, were among those killed after the strike near the gate of the Emirati maternity hospital, the health ministry said.

Photos taken by news agencies showed colleagues of the paramedic, whom the health ministry identified as Abdul Fattah Abu Marai, taking his body to the nearby Kuwaiti hospital, as well as injured children lying on stretchers, as other children looked on and cried.

The Israeli military said later Saturday that, with help from Israel’s domestic security agency, it had carried out a “precision strike” against “Islamic Jihad terrorists” near the hospital. The military declined to respond to reports that the strike had injured children.

The Israeli military had previously declared that Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, would be a safe zone for civilians, and more than half of the enclave’s entire population is now crammed into it, with many living in makeshift tents over nearly every inch of available space.

But airstrikes on Rafah have continued even as the number of people sheltering there has swelled to around 1.5 million. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has vowed that his forces will invade the city whether or not a temporary cease-fire deal is reached, despite dire warnings from humanitarian groups and many of Israel’s allies that any military operation in Rafah would have catastrophic consequences for civilians.

The news of Saturday’s strike was “outrageous and unspeakable,” the leader of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on social media, reiterating calls for a cease-fire and for the protection of health care workers and civilians.

The victims of the strike were sheltering near the Emirati maternity hospital, one of the last hospitals still functioning in Gaza. Despite having only five beds remaining for women giving birth, the hospital is managing more than half of the estimated 180 births happening daily in the enclave, said Dominic Allen, the State of Palestine representative for the United Nations Population Fund, a sexual and reproductive health agency known as U.N.F.P.A.

The Emirati hospital is essentially “the last hope for pregnant women in the whole of Gaza,” Mr. Allen said. A strike so close to the hospital poses a “terrifying” risk to pregnant women, newborns and the overloaded health care workers trying to care for them, he added.





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