Israel admits airstrike on ambulance near hospital that witnesses say killed and wounded dozens In this incident, Israel claimed responsibility for an attack on an ambulance outside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the enclave, which resulted in the deaths of at least 15 people and the injury of 50 others. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), they targeted the ambulance because it was being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone.
In a statement, it was reported that a number of individuals affiliated with Hamas were killed in the attack. According to the statement, there was information indicating that Hamas frequently used ambulances to transport both their operatives and weapons.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, represented by a spokesperson at Al-Shifa Hospital, attributed the attack to Israel. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) confirmed that one of its ambulances was present in the convoy but none of its team members were harmed in the strike. The PRCS reported that the ambulance sustained damage when a shell landed near it. Furthermore, they stated that upon reaching the gate of Al-Shifa hospital, it was targeted again. A separate Ministry of Health ambulance was hit directly, resulting in casualties among civilians in the vicinity.
Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra stated that the authorities had coordinated the medical convoy’s departure from the hospital and had informed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about this operation.
He revealed that the convoy was en route to the Rafah Crossing, a critical border point in the southern part of the besieged enclave. This crossing has been considered Gazans’ last chance to seek refuge as Israel continues its airstrikes on the region.
Dr. Al-Qidra went on to express that as the ambulances headed southward, the Israeli forces deliberately attacked them at various locations, even targeting them at the entrance of the Al-Shifa medical compound.
The ICRC has confirmed to CNN that it was notified of a request to provide support for the convoy before its departure. However, the ICRC clarified in a subsequent statement that while they were aware of the planned movement of a convoy transporting injured patients from northern Gaza to the southern part of the enclave on Friday, they were not directly involved in it.
In their statement, the ICRC emphasized that despite their absence, the convoy was a medical mission, and any acts of violence against medical personnel are unequivocally unacceptable. They stated, “No healthcare professionals, whether doctors, nurses, or any medical staff, should ever lose their lives while dedicated to saving others.”
Hospitals under siege.
Al-Shifa Hospital has become increasingly situated on the front lines of the conflict, with Israel claiming last week that it serves as a significant Hamas command and control center. Palestinians have firmly rejected this Israeli assertion. Dr. Medhat Abbas, the Director General of the Gaza Health Ministry, emphasized in a recent interview with CNN that Gaza’s hospitals are solely dedicated to treating patients and are not used for concealing anyone.
Hamas has also disavowed the claim, urging the United Nations, Arab, and Islamic nations to intervene promptly in order to halt the destruction of the healthcare system in the Gaza Strip. The hospital is situated in one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, within the 140-square-mile Gaza Strip, which is currently enduring extensive military operations by the Israeli forces.
In recent weeks, Israel’s government has rejected calls for a ceasefire from Hamas, aid organizations, and the global community. Israel vowed to take strong action against Hamas after a terror attack last month that resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians. In response, Israel has carried out extensive military strikes in Gaza, targeting large residential areas, schools, and locations near hospitals, citing military objectives. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, more than 9,100 people have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7. The ongoing bombardment has severely strained Gaza’s medical facilities, leading to shortages of supplies and fuel. Hospitals like Al-Shifa are struggling to operate, with limited resources, exhausted medical staff, and power shortages. Patients, including children, are being treated for severe injuries, including burns and missing limbs. The medical teams are also facing challenges such as limited pain control and insufficient antibiotics and dressings for wound care.