Al-Shifa Hospital

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Al-Shifa Hospital, properly known as Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, is the largest medical complex and central hospital in the Gaza Strip, located in the neighbourhood of northern Rimal in Gaza City in the Gaza Governorate. Originally a British Army barracks, the site was transformed into a healthcare facility, the Dar Al-Shifa or "house of healing", by the government of Mandatory Palestine in 1946. The hospital was expanded during the Egyptian administration of Gaza, and again under Israeli administration during the 1980s. In the 21st-century, the hospital has increasingly been caught up in conflicts. During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, much of the media coverage came from correspondents reporting from the hospital.

Quotes

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  • Hamas has been systematically using hospitals in Gaza to run its terror machine. [...] Hamas built tunnels underneath hospitals, used them to command their operations… Hamas wages war from hospitals. This is the sick nature of the savage terrorists we are fighting.
  • Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital. The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza. The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields. In recent weeks, the IDF has publicly warned time and again that Hamas' continued military use of the Shifa hospital jeopardizes its protected status under international law, and enabled ample time to stop this unlawful abuse of the hospital. Yesterday, the IDF conveyed to the relevant authorities in Gaza once again that all military activities within the hospital must cease within 12 hours. Unfortunately, it did not. The IDF has also facilitated wide-scale evacuations of the hospital and maintained regular dialogue with hospital authorities. We call upon all Hamas terrorists present in the hospital to surrender.
  • Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City. [...] They have stored weapons there and they are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility. [...] Hamas has deeply embedded itself within the civilian population. To be clear, we do not support striking a hospital from the air and we do not want to see a firefight in the hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people are simply trying to get the medical care that they deserve, not to be caught in a crossfire. Hospitals and patients must be protected. [...] As we have been clear on multiple occasions, Hamas's actions do not lessen Israel's responsibility to protect civilians in Gaza, and this is obviously something we're going to have an active conversation with our counterparts about.
  • We have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa and tunnels underneath them to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages. [...] We have information that confirms that Hamas is using that particular hospital for a command and control node and probably storage of equipment, weapons... That is a war crime.
  • The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al-Shifa hospital. I have been clear that the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians. Even wars have rules. [...] All innocent life is equal in worth, Israeli and Palestinian. I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The world is watching on TV and social media. We’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors. Kids who’ve lost their parents. The world is witnessing this. The killing of women and children. Of babies. This has to stop.

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