IDF troops withdrawing from Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, Hamas-run health ministry says

Troops of the Nahal Brigade's reconnaissance unit operate in the area of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, in a handout image published March 31, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the Nahal Brigade's reconnaissance unit operate in the area of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, in a handout image published March 31, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF troops are withdrawing from Shifa Hospital, two weeks after they launched a second raid on the Gaza City medical center, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Eyewitnesses say troops are withdrawing under cover of airstrikes and artillery fire.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

The operation was launched on March 18. The IDF said it was a “precise” raid to target terror leaders and infrastructure.

The military has said more than 500 members of terror groups have been captured and some 200 have been killed, including several top commanders, over the course of the operation at the medical center.

Some 350 patients and medical staff at Shifa Hospital were evacuated by the IDF to a “designated compound” in another part of the complex, where the military has provided them with humanitarian aid and supplies.

Shifa, the Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital before the war, had been one of the few health care facilities even partially operational in north Gaza before the latest fighting. It had also been housing displaced civilians.

International law stipulates that while a medical facility is a protected site in conflict, it loses that status if it is used for military activity.

Israel has offered evidence Hamas uses such facilities as cover for terror purposes and says the group plunders humanitarian aid to take supplies for its fighters, depriving the civilian population.

AFP contributed to this report.

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