Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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HomeWorldIsraeli snipers kill 21 civilians outside Gaza's besieged Nasser Hospital

Israeli snipers kill 21 civilians outside Gaza’s besieged Nasser Hospital

Human rights groups say repeated attacks on medical facilities, doctors and ambulances should be investigated for war crimes.

Israeli snipers killed at least 21 Palestinians after they opened fire on displaced civilians trying to reach the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah, said on Friday that snipers had surrounded the hospital and were “shooting at every moving object” as people tried to reach it from two densely populated residential neighborhoods near the facility.

“The area around the hospital is very dangerous and has become a combat zone,” he said, noting that the hospital is the only place right now in Khan Younis that has any water left.

Human rights groups said the Israeli military’s repeated attacks on medical facilities, doctors, nurses, medics and ambulances should be investigated for war crimes.

“Hospitals and other medical facilities are civilian assets that enjoy special protection under international humanitarian law or the laws of war,” Human Rights Watch said.

Mahmoud said this represents a “new trend of targeted killings” by Israeli snipers, who shoot Palestinians in the streets. People inside the medical center would also become easy targets when trying to recover the bodies.

“The attack drones also targeted a group of young people who gathered on the roof of the hospital. Due to the communications blackout, they were trying to obtain Internet signals on their mobile phones to be able to communicate with their relatives,” Mahmoud reported.

Along with al-Amal Hospital, Nasser Hospital is the largest in Khan Younis. Both medical facilities have been under siege for weeks as the Israeli military said it had “surrounded” the area and intensified its offensive by air, land and sea.

Many Palestinians, who had been forcibly displaced by previous Israeli attacks in other areas, now have few options inside Nasser Hospital apart from limited medical staff and patients, all of whom have little to eat or drink.

The Israeli military has destroyed or severely damaged dozens of medical facilities across the Gaza Strip since the start of the war on October 7.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said on Friday that the Al-Quds hospital in northern Gaza City also suffered significant damage as a result of Israeli tank fire.

“The Israeli army deliberately attacked the society’s headquarters and vehicles to put them out of service,” said Red Crescent spokesman Raed al-Nims.

This comes as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been forced in recent weeks to flee from Khan Younis to Rafah further south, which sits on the border with Egypt.

More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are now in Rafah, the last place previously designated as a “safe zone” by the Israeli military. Israel has said it plans to launch a ground attack on Rafah soon, ignoring warnings of a “catastrophe” from the United States and the United Nations.

“I think we should push to prevent tragedy rather than push to facilitate tragedy,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday after being asked if he would urge opening the border with Egypt to displace the Palestinians. from the Gaza Strip.

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