The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers

The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers

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The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers

The UN says 250 patients and staff are estimated to remain at Al-Shifa Hospital. Image by REUTERS


The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers.

Israeli forces have detained Dr. Mohammed Abu Salmiya, the director of Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital, for questioning a week after a controversial raid. According to the Israeli military, he is being questioned regarding evidence suggesting that al-Shifa Hospital served as a Hamas command and control center.

Both Dr. Abu Salmiya and Hamas have denied this allegation.

Simultaneously, heavy gunfire has been reported around the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia, with Israeli troops reportedly ordering its full evacuation. The Israeli military is checking these reports.

Israel initiated a major military campaign in the Gaza Strip to dismantle Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by Israel. The campaign followed an unprecedented cross-border attack on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostages.

Gaza’s Hamas-run government reports over 14,500 deaths since the onset of Israeli air and ground strikes, while the United Nations warns of a humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, Israel and Hamas agreed to exchange 50 hostages, all children and women, for a four-day pause in the fighting. The truce, mediated by Qatar, is set to begin at 07:00 local time on Friday, with the first group of 13 hostages to be released at 16:00.

It is estimated that some 250 patients in addition to staff members are still present at al-Shifa, which was the largest medical institution in Gaza but is no longer in use.

According to the United Nations, on Wednesday, 190 injured and sick patients, their companions, and a number of medical teams were evacuated from the hospital in an ambulance convoy to the south.

This evacuation took place in coordination with the World Health Organisation and other humanitarian agencies.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said in a statement that it took approximately 20 hours to complete the evacuation procedure “as the convoy was obstructed and subjected to careful inspection while passing through the checkpoint” on Salah al-Din Road, which is the road that divides northern and southern Gaza.

The statement was released tonight.

In addition to this, a wounded person’s companion as well as three paramedics were taken into custody.

The patient and two of the paramedics were eventually allowed to go free, but the third paramedic, who is also a colleague of Awni Khattab’s, is still being held at this time.

Dr. Abu Salmiya was not cited by either the UN or the PRCS. However, Dr. Adnan al-Bursh, the head of orthopaedics at al-Shifa, told the our reporter that he had also been imprisoned when accompanying the evacuated patients on Wednesday.

The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers

“following evidence showing that al-Shifa Hospital, under his direct management, served as a Hamas command and control centre,” the Israeli military said in a statement on Thursday afternoon, confirming that Dr. Abu Salmiya had been hauled in for questioning by the Shin Bet internal security agency.

“The Hamas terror tunnel network that was situated underneath the hospital made use of the hospital’s electricity as well as the resources that were taken from the hospital.

In addition, Hamas concealed a large number of weapons both within the hospital and on the grounds of the facility.

“Furthermore, after the Hamas massacre on 7 October, Hamas terrorists sought refuge within the hospital, some of them taking hostages from Israel with them,” it stated, while alleging that a female soldier who had been held hostage was murdered on the premises.

The statement concluded by stating that “Hamas terrorists sought refuge within the hospital, some of them taking hostages from Israel with them.”

Hamas, the workers of the hospital, and officials from the health ministry have all disputed claims that the hospital was utilised as a sanctuary by combatants on multiple occasions.

Hamas has also alleged that an Israeli air attack was responsible for the death of the soldier.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military presented what it claimed to be additional proof of a Hamas “terror tunnel complex” beneath al-Shifa. The material was shown to embedded media.

The director of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been apprehended by Israeli soldiers

Israeli soldiers at al-Shifa showed journalists. Image by REUTERS


A reporter working for the Reuters news agency said that he had entered a fortified underground tunnel through an outdoor shaft located on the premises of the hospital.

According to him, the tunnel led to a series of rooms, one of which was a meeting room with air conditioning that the military claimed was used by Hamas officials. Other rooms in the complex included a shower and a kitchen.

Under the international law that governs humanitarian aid, hospitals are afforded special protection. Patients, as well as medical personnel and ambulances, are safeguarded by this measure of safety.

However, this protection can be removed from hospitals if they are utilised by one of the warring parties in order to carry out a “act harmful to the enemy.”

Separately, a top doctor and a health ministry official stated on Thursday that Israeli military had issued a directive ordering the total evacuation of the Indonesian Hospital, which is located in an area where significant fighting has occurred in recent days.

The medical director of the Indonesian Hospital, Dr. Marwan Sultan, described the situation inside as “very difficult,” with intense firing around the hospital, including from tanks every 15 minutes.

He added that because of the threat, medical personnel and patients were forced to stay in corridors rather than rooms because windows were being targeted.

Dr. Sultan voiced fear that unless the truce was implemented, a situation similar to that at al-Shifa Hospital could occur. He stated that they had asked three buses and 13 ambulances from Gaza’s health ministry for the evacuation, with Red Cross supervision.

On Thursday morning, the Israeli military announced that its troops were striking “terror targets” in the Jabalia region, which is located immediately south of the Indonesian Hospital.

Earlier this week, the health ministry claimed civilian injuries at the hospital as a result of Israeli fire, but the Israeli military insisted that they were targeting “terrorists” who had fired from within the facility.

On Thursday, Israeli strikes were reported in the north of Gaza as well as the southern city of Khan Younis.

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