GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said Thursday that the Israeli army had deployed bulldozers at the Al-Shifa hospital, which Israel has said sits above a Hamas command centre.
“Israeli bulldozers destroyed parts of the southern entrance” to the hospital, the ministry said in a brief statement in Arabic.
The Israeli army told AFP that an operation was currently underway at the hospital complex.
“Tonight we conducted a targeted operation into Shifa hospital. We continue to move forward,” Major General Yaron Finkelman, head of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, said on the army’s Telegram channel.
The army carried out an operation at Al-Shifa on Wednesday, sparking serious international concern and criticism.
A journalist in contact with AFP, trapped inside the hospital, said soldiers shot in the air and ordered young men to surrender when they burst into the hospital overnight.
By early evening, Israeli troops had withdrawn from the facility, the journalist said, redeploying around the hospital.
Both Israel and its top ally the United States said the Palestinian militants have a command centre below the Al-Shifa complex, a charge denied by Hamas and directors at the hospital, which has become a focal point in the 40-day-old war.
The Israeli army said troops had found “military and combat equipment” inside the compound during Wednesday’s operation, a claim the Hamas-run health ministry denied.