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Israeli Army Says Bodies Of Hostages Likely Held In Gaza Hospital

Israeli forces operating across the Gaza Strip have repeatedly attacked hospitals. (File)

Jerusalem:

The Israeli military claimed on Thursday that the bodies of hostages may be being held at a hospital in southern Gaza after its troops raided the hospital. Medical officials say the hospital has been under “siege” for a month.

The military said troops took part in a “precise and limited operation” inside Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis after heavy fighting broke out between the army and Hamas operatives around the facility.

“We have received reliable information from a number of sources, including freed hostages, that Hamas is holding hostages at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis and that the bodies of our hostages are within Nasser Hospital facilities. This shows that it is possible,” he said in a statement.

The military did not provide evidence or immediately respond to AFP’s questions about when they were at the facility or for what purpose soldiers found the hostages inside the Gaza hospital.

The Ministry of Health in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip reported that thousands of people, including patients who had been evacuated to Nasser Hospital, had been evacuated in recent days.

Footage circulating on social media, which AFP could not independently confirm, showed large groups of people walking through narrow alleys as they left the hospital.

Another video clip reportedly showed rescue workers attempting to move a patient to a safe room after the hospital’s orthopedic ward was attacked.

Rescue workers could be seen using portable flashlights to drag patients to beds, while others were seen carrying another sick person wrapped in blankets through the rubble.

Another video sent by Gaza’s health ministry showed rows of patients lying on beds in a crowded corridor of the hospital’s medical wing.

Nurses told AFP of deadly sniper fires, sewage in emergency rooms and lack of drinking water.

Israeli forces operating across the Gaza Strip have repeatedly attacked hospitals and claim the facilities are being used as command centers by Hamas operatives.

Hamas denies such accusations, and the Israeli military has provided no concrete evidence of such a command.

“Important” facilities

The World Health Organization describes Nasser Hospital as an important facility “for all of Gaza,” and only a small number of hospitals are even partially operational.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said he was “alarmed” by the reports from Nasser Hospital, calling it “the backbone of southern Gaza’s health system.”

Tedros wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that he has been denied access to the facility in recent days and has been unable to contact facility staff.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the situation in Nasser was “catastrophic” as officials were unable to move the body to a morgue due to the risks involved.

“Our mission is to ensure that Nasser Hospital continues its vital function of treating Gazan patients,” the military said.

Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on October 7, killing around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, in Israel, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli statistics.

Palestinian agents also took about 250 people hostage. About 130 of them remain detained in Gaza, and 29 of them are believed to have died, Israeli officials said.

Earlier this week, Israeli forces rescued two hostages in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing about 100 people, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

At least 28,663 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, most of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Gaza Strip’s Ministry of Health.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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