Accounts Differ Wildly in the Wake of Shifa Hospital Raid

( – The largest hospital in Gaza was left in ruins after a second raid by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which withdrew earlier this week, but there are differing accounts about what really happened.

On Monday, April 1st, the IDF withdrew from another siege on Shifa, the biggest hospital in the Gaza Strip, leaving the facility almost completely destroyed. In the aftermath, different accounts emerged between the World Health Organization (WHO) and observers who were on the ground in Gaza.

Israel claims that the battle, which resulted in the destruction of the facility, represents a major victory against Palestinian militant group Hamas. Since the October 7th, 2023, attack on the Jewish state by Hamas, the IDF has been engaged in military operations throughout the Palestinian territories to weed out the militant group and its leaders. The IDF claimed the raid on Shifa did not harm any civilians sheltered inside, but on-the-ground accounts tell a different story.

Eyewitness accounts describe a raid that lasted two weeks and killed dozens of civilians, left others trapped in the hospital with supplies depleting, and still others brutally detained by IDF soldiers.

Israel launched the attack on the hospital on March 18th, and allegedly killed over 200 militants inside and around the facility, according to spokesman Daniel Hagari, who added that no civilians were harmed in the process. Hagari also said the IDF provided medicine, food, and water to the roughly 6,000 Palestinians taking shelter in the hospital complex, and then helped to evacuate the civilians.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus contradicted this claim and told reporters on Sunday, March 31st, that at least 21 patients died inside the hospital since the siege began, and that 107 were left inside. The patients, which include young children and patients in critical condition, lacked supplies for health and medical support.

About 900 Palestinians, suspected of being militants, were arrested by the IDF. Israel claims at least 500 were confirmed to be militants, some of them high-level members of Hamas. In contrast, Middle Eastern media sources and the Gaza Health Ministry said there were journalists and medical workers among the detained, who have been treated brutally by Israeli forces.

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