IDF arrests dozens of Oct. 7 terrorists in Gaza hospital; paratrooper killed in combat

Second soldier seriously hurt in battle that kills Staff Sgt. Noam Haba, 20; weaponry found inside Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza; Hamas says 5 patients have died

Staff Sgt. Noam Haba of the Paratrooper Brigade's 202nd Battalion, who the IDF announced was killed fighting in southern Gaza on February 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Staff Sgt. Noam Haba of the Paratrooper Brigade's 202nd Battalion, who the IDF announced was killed fighting in southern Gaza on February 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Forces from the elite Maglan and naval commando unit continued to carry out searches Friday at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis – the focal point of recent fighting – and apprehended more than 20 terrorists who took part in the October 7 massacres in Israel, the military said. The soldiers also found mortars, grenades and other weaponry belonging to Hamas inside the medical facility.

In addition, dozens of suspects were taken for questioning.

The army also said that during operations at the hospital, troops found medications with the names of hostages on them. “The origin of the medication and their use is under investigation,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

Health officials in the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said that five patients in intensive care had died after their oxygen cut off, and alleged troops had caused chaos for hundreds of staff and wounded inside.

The IDF also announced on Friday the death in battle of Staff Sgt. Noam Haba, 20, of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 202nd Battalion, from Jerusalem, raising the IDF’s death toll since the beginning of the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to 234.

The IDF said that in the same battle in which Haba was killed, other soldiers were wounded, including a fellow member of the 202nd Battalion who was seriously hurt.

IDF troops entered the Nasser Hospital building on Thursday after surrounding the hospital for a week, saying they had information that hostages had been held there and that some bodies of dead hostages may still be at the site. A released hostage told The Associated Press last month that she and over two dozen other captives had been held inside the hospital.

The military said it will “continue to operate in accordance with international law against the Hamas terror group, which has systematically operated from within hospitals and other civilian infrastructures.”

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said that four patients in the intensive care unit of the hospital died early Friday morning due to a lack of electricity in the facility, preventing adequate oxygen supplies.

IDF troops seen in the Gaza Strip in a photo released by the IDF, Feb. 16, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson)

The ministry had earlier warned that six patients in the ICU and three infants in incubators were in danger because fuel for generators was on the verge of running out.

“The Israeli occupation is responsible for the lives of patients and staff as the compound now is under its full control,” the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the IDF.

Also in Khan Younis, the Paratrooper Brigade continued to raid terror targets, killing two Hamas operatives and neutralizing an explosive device, and the 7th Brigade of the IDF Armored Corps killed 12 terrorists.

Over the past 24 hours, the IDF continued its campaign throughout different parts of the Gaza Strip with widespread airstrikes and gun battles between troops and terrorists.

According to the military, the air force hit Hamas targets, including the terror group’s operational headquarters, military buildings, launch positions and other targets. Strikes were also carried out to support ground troops.

The military said fighting also continued in central Gaza, where Nahal Brigade soldiers killed several terror operatives.

Over that same time span, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said that 122 people were killed in Gaza, bringing the Palestinian death toll in the war to 28,775.

These figures cannot be independently verified and do not distinguish between Hamas members and civilians. They also include Palestinians killed as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed nearly 11,000 Hamas operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

The war broke out on October 7, when Hamas carried out a devastating attack on southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 253 hostages, while committing wholesale atrocities.

Egypt building wall

The war has caused a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, with most of the population displaced and at risk of starvation. Egypt, fearing that the crisis may lead Palestinians to seek refuge in the country via Gaza’s southern border, has begun building a wall to prevent that from happening, satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press showed.

While Egypt has not publicly acknowledged the construction of the wall, the country has warned Israel against forcing the Palestinian population currently sheltering in the southern Gazan city of Rafah from crossing the border.

This handout satellite picture taken and released by Maxar Technologies on February 15, 2024 shows machinery building a wall along the Egypt-Gaza Strip border in Rafah, Egypt. (Photo by Handout / Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies / AFP)

Cairo officials did not respond to requests for comment Friday from the AP. The satellite images, taken Thursday by Maxar Technologies, show construction ongoing on the wall, which sits along the Sheikh Zuweid-Rafah Road some 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) west of the border with Gaza.

The images show cranes, trucks and what appear to be precast concrete barriers being set up along the road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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