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GAZA: Palestinians inspect the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital after the Zionist military withdrew from the complex on April 1, 2024. - AFP
GAZA: Palestinians inspect the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital after the Zionist military withdrew from the complex on April 1, 2024. - AFP
Zionists destroy Al-Shifa Hospital, kill scores in Gaza

GAZA: Zionist forces on Monday pulled out of Gaza’s largest hospital complex after an intensive two-week military operation, leaving behind charred buildings and bodies strewn at the sprawling Al-Shifa Hospital complex. The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said that, after heavy Zionist air strikes and tank fire, “the scale of the destruction inside the complex and the buildings around it is very large”.

“Dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, have been recovered from in and around the Al-Shifa medical complex,” it said, adding that the hospital was now “completely out of service”. Several doctors and civilians at the damaged complex told AFP that at least 20 bodies had been found, some of which appeared to have been driven over by military vehicles.

Several were found close to the west entrance to the complex, which the Zionist army used during its departure from the hospital grounds on Monday. “Bodies... The tanks went over them. Destruction. Children. Innocents. Unarmed civilians. They (soldiers) went over them,” one witness said, asking not to be named. An AFP correspondent saw one badly decomposed body bearing tyre marks.

Battles have also flared around other Gaza hospitals almost six months into the war, which have destroyed swathes of the besieged coastal territory. The Hamas government press office said the army had blown up more than 20 houses within 24 hours in the main southern city of Khan Yunis, where battles have raged around the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals.

US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators have been pushing for a ceasefire and hostage release deal, but Hamas official Osama Hamdan said “there is no talk so far about any new round of negotiations”. UN agencies and humanitarian aid groups have warned that many of Gaza’s 2.4 million people are on the brink of famine, and donor countries have sporadically trucked in and airdropped food.

A second ship carrying relief goods via the Mediterranean was near Gaza’s coast on Monday, according to website Vesselfinder.com, days after leaving Cyprus. Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — whose office said he underwent a “successful” hernia operation Sunday — has vowed to destroy Hamas, including in Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah. The premier was “in good shape and beginning to recover”, his office said in a statement.

The Zionist entity’s campaign has killed at least 32,845 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry. Hamas in a statement acknowledged the suffering and “exhaustion” of Gazans because of the war, while vowing to continue fighting until it achieves “victory and freedom” for Palestinians. The Zionist military said Monday that 600 soldiers had been killed since the start of the war — including 256 in the Gaza ground invasion since late October.

Zionist police meanwhile said they had arrested the sister of Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, as part of a terror probe, in the southern Zionist town of Tel Sheva. Police told AFP that Sabah Abdel Salam Haniyeh, 57, who is a citizen of the Zionist entity, was taken into custody as part investigation also involving security agency Shin Bet. A police spokesman said she is “suspected of having contact with Hamas operatives and identifying with the organization while inciting and supporting acts of terrorism in (the Zionist entity)”.

Over the past two weeks, the Zionist army carried out atrocities at the Al-Shifa complex, before declaring on Monday that the forces had withdrawn. The scene left behind was one of devastation, with windows blown out, concrete walls blackened and volunteers carrying away shrouded corpses across the sandy wasteland. Dozens of air strikes and shelling had hit the area around the complex in the morning, in heavy fire which the Hamas government media office said served to provide cover for the withdrawing troops and tanks. – AFP

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