GAZA: Israeli forces, advancing deep into western Khan Younis in Gaza’s bloodiest fighting so far in January, stormed one hospital and put another under siege on Monday, cutting the wounded off from trauma care, Palestinian officials said.
Troops advanced for the first time into the al-Mawasi district near the Mediterranean Coast, west of Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza.
There, they stormed the Al-Khair hospital and were arresting medical staff, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qidra told Reuters.
There was no immediate word from Israel on the situation at the hospital. The military spokesperson’s office had no comment.
Qidra said at least 50 people were killed overnight in Khan Younis, while the sieges of medical facilities meant dozens of dead and wounded were beyond the reach of rescuers.
“The Israeli occupation is preventing ambulance vehicles from moving to recover bodies of martyrs and the wounded from western Khan Younis,” he said.
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The Palestinian Red Crescent said tanks had surrounded another Khan Younis hospital, al-Amal, headquarters of the rescue agency, which had lost contact with staff there.
“We are deeply worried about what is happening around our hospital,” said Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“Ambulances cannot go in or out and we cannot provide any emergency health care to people in the area.”
Israel says Hamas fighters operate from in and around hospitals, which Hamas and medical staff deny.
“Hamas embeds its operation within and under hospitals and other medical facilities,” said Elad Goren of COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry branch that coordinates with the Palestinians.