RAFAH, Gaza Strip: Israeli military forces have conducted raids on two operational hospitals in northern Gaza, detaining staff as part of an effort to eliminate Hamas militants, according to statements from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday. The offensive, supported by renewed backing from the United States, involved airstrikes across southern Gaza, resulting in the deaths of at least 45 Palestinians.
In the southern town of Rafah, a predawn strike on a residential home claimed the lives of Mohammed Zoghroub’s two children, a 2-year-old boy, and a newborn girl. The grieving father, injured in the attack, bid farewell to his children while his wife and mother stood by. Expressing her anguish, the children’s grandmother, Suzan Zoghroub, questioned the Israeli Prime Minister’s actions, asking if the killing of innocent children aligns with the government’s objectives.
Defense Minister Gallant revealed that Israeli forces were engaged in clearing out Hamas militants from the northern Gaza region, focusing on the densely populated urban areas. The campaign, involving raids on hospitals and shelters in the north, aims to locate and detain militants, with an emphasis on clearing out the extensive tunnel network. Gallant emphasized that operations in southern Gaza, particularly in Khan Younis, the second-largest city, will persist for months.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, after meeting with Israeli officials, urged Israel to protect civilians but reiterated unwavering American support for Israel’s actions against Hamas. This stance indicates that the United States will continue supporting Israel despite growing international calls for a cease-fire, with the United Nations Security Council set to vote on the matter.
The impact of the Israeli offensive is evident in the widespread destruction and casualties. In Rafah and central Gaza, airstrikes resulted in numerous civilian casualties, including the death of a prominent Hamas financier. Fierce battles have devastated northern Gaza, with the military claiming control of the urban refugee camp of Jabaliya.
The Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City and Al Awda hospital in northern Gaza have been targeted in Israeli raids, with staff detained and facilities disrupted. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders reported the seizure of Al Awda hospital, where male occupants were subjected to interrogation. Hospital staff, denying accusations of military use, accused Israel of jeopardizing the lives of critically ill and wounded civilians.
As the death toll in Gaza surpasses 19,600, Hamas continues to resist Israeli forces, launching rockets towards Tel Aviv. The conflict, sparked by Hamas and other militants’ actions, has resulted in casualties on both sides. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains committed to ongoing military operations until the objectives of ending Hamas rule, neutralizing military capabilities, and freeing hostages are achieved.