Israel bombarded Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, killing and injuring patients and those sheltering inside. Egyptian human rights group reports construction underway on detention zone ahead of a possible mass expulsion from Gaza into Sinai.
Leila WarahFebruary 15, 2024
Tents of displaced Palestinians across sand dunes on the outskirts of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Palestinians who migrated to Rafah city from different parts of Gaza due to Israeli attacks, struggle to live under difficult conditions in makeshift tents they set up around a cemetery in Rafah, Gaza on February 14, 2024. (Saeed Jaras/ APA Images)
28,576+ Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 12,000 children, and 68,291+ Palestinians have been injured.
380+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
569 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**
*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 36,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.
** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”
Israeli forces shell Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, killing at least one person and injuring several others.
Top US official confirm Israel not allowing flour into Gaza, reports Axios. Millions of Palestinians in Gaza are facing a famine due to Israel’s siege and refusal to allow adequate aid into Gaza.
Defense for Children International Palestine: 16-year-old Palestinian boy shot by Israeli forces while leaving school is the 100th child to be killed in the West Bank since October 7th.
PRCS: Intense shelling in vicinity of al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand say they are ‘gravely concerned’ about Israel’s planned ground operation into Rafah.
At least ten civilians killed by Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon.
Rights group: Egypt seems to be speedily constructing a ‘buffer zone’ in the Sinai Peninsula, directly south of the Rafah border crossing, to receive influx of Palestinian refugees from Gaza.
Preparations reportedly underway for mass expulsion from Gaza into Egyptian Sinai
Over four months of ruthless Israeli attacks on Gaza have left the besieged enclave, which is home to over 2 million people, decimated. More than half of its population has been crammed into Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah after Israel deemed the area a “safe zone.”
However, Israel has since announced plans to conduct a ground invasion of the city, which will put hundreds of thousands of families’ lives at risk.
“We will fight until complete victory and this includes a powerful action also in Rafah after we allow the civilian population to leave the battle zones,” the Israeli prime minister said on X.
In light of the looming operation, Egypt is allegedly preparing for the Rafah’s population to be expelled.
The rights group Sinai Foundation for Human Rights (SFUR) has reported that construction is currently underway to create a security zone with Gaza, which would act as a buffer area that could receive Palestinian refugees if they are forced out of the besieged enclave.
Citing local contractors, SFUR says the aim is to create an area in the Sinai peninsula that is surrounded by seven-meter-high walls in an area that will be paved over the destroyed homes of indigenous groups in the area.
The report, which Mondowiess has not independently verified, states that the construction will not take more than ten days.
Since October, Israel has proposed various plans to push Gaza’s Palestinian residents into Egypt, which Cairo has rejected.
“It [Rafah] sits right at the border with Egypt. It’s seen by the Egyptians as a major breach of their national security, and ultimately it brings the question of where will these 1.3 to 1.4 million people go?” Middle East specialist Hafsa Halawa told Al Jazeera.
“The rest of Gaza is effectively uninhabitable, there are no services, we’ve heard the talk of famine for months now, and now we’re at a stage where this is really the Israeli government enacting what they promised on the first week after the attacks of October 7, which is to flatten the Strip.”
People are fleeing Rafah because of Israel’s increased air raids, a threatened Israeli ground invasion, and also because they are struggling to survive in the overcrowded city in southern Gaza, according to the latest update from the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA).
Fabrizio Carboni, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) director for the Middle East, said in a statement: “In view of a military operation in densely populated Rafah, we renew our call on the parties to the conflict, and all who have influence on them, to spare and protect civilian lives and infrastructure,”
“Under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict must ensure the basic necessities of life are provided and the necessary safeguards to preserve life are undertaken for the civilian population. It is urgent to do more now. Countless lives are hanging in the balance,” Carboni continued.
Similarly, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention has said that the U.S. “must take immediate steps to prevent further destruction, loss of life, and displacement in Gaza and the West Bank.”
“None of the Biden Administration’s tactics to deny genocide and avoid accountability will withstand the test of time. President Biden and key administration officials are on a path to be remembered as the principal enablers of one of the worst genocides in the 21st century,” the group said in a statement.
Rik Peeperkorn, WHO representative for Gaza and the occupied West Bank, says a total Israeli military offensive against Rafah would not only “further expand the humanitarian disaster beyond imagination” but “push the health system closer to the brink of collapse.”
Israel bombards Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, killing patients and detaining medical staff
Since October 7, Israel has crippled Gaza’s healthcare system, effectively picking off one medical facility at a time as the army moved its way from the north to the south of Gaza . Recently, the army has had their targets set on the Nasser Medical Complex and the Al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis, which have been under military siege for weeks.
On Wednesday night, Israeli forces shelled the Nasser Hospital’s orthopedic department, killing at least one person and seriously injuring several others, reported Wafa.
Israeli troops reportedly stormed the hospital compound and opened fire, forcing doctors, nurses, and displaced Palestinians to evacuate the hospital and head to Rafah, but Israeli forces arrested dozens of people when they attempted to do so.
Gaza’s Health Ministry also reported the Israeli army demolishing its southern wall before storming the complex.
Before the attack, the military had ordered all those in the hospital to evacuate, including over 1,500 displaced persons, 190 staff and 299 of their family members, 273 patients who cannot move, and 327 companions, reported Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra.
“There are still people, alongside medical workers, trapped inside the facility and the medical complex as they continue caring for patients,” said Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Abu Azzoum before the attack.
Witnesses have reported Israeli sniper fire killing several people, making it dangerous to comply with the evacuation order, continued Abu Azzoum.
The Israeli army is claiming, without providing evidence, that the Palestinian hospital in Gaza is being used for operations by Hamas as an excuse to commit more massacres. The military says it has “credible intelligence” that Hamas is holding captives at Nasser Hospital. This is not the first time Israel has made such claims which have been proved to be false after the attacks take place.
“We operate against Hamas terrorists wherever they are hiding. And, as we proved with the successful rescue missions of our hostages, we are committed to our mission of bringing our hostages home,” said Army spokesperson Daniel Hagar, citing one of two times the army has managed to rescue Israeli captives via military operations in over four months.
On Wednesday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “alarmed” by reports from Nasser Hospital, which he described as the “backbone of the health system in southern Gaza.”
He added that the U.N.’s health agency has been denied access to the hospital in recent days and has lost contact with its staff there.
World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Al Jazeera that the U.N. agency has been denied access to Nasser Hospital since January 29 as Israeli forces have placed the facility under siege.
“We tried several times to go there, but our requests have been denied. We heard reports about some 400 patients still being there, that 10 people have been killed, that a warehouse has been destroyed,” Jasarevic said.
“Every time we move, we need to get security clearances to make sure we can get safely to places we want to go. And for example, only 40 percent of our requests to go north have been facilitated by Israeli authorities. But even when we are given permission to go, there are often delays at checkpoints,” Jasarevic said.
Meanwhile, inside the European Hospital in Khan Younis, Dr. Ahmed Mokhalati says that “the whole system has collapsed” and that the situation is “horrible.”
“We are losing a lot of patients, most of the time because of the lack of equipment and medical staff. The operating theater has very minimal supplies and we’re keeping them for the critical cases,” Mokhalati told Al Jazeera.
“Anesthesia is very little and we have to do major surgeries without [it], which means the patient can be screaming many times in the middle of surgery.”
The hospital is crowded with displaced people who lack essential services, including clean water. “The basic hygiene of the patients is very low, which is reflected in the widespread infection of the wounds,” Mokhalati said.
He said the facility is still operating an intensive care unit, but one doctor must care for all 40 patients. Dozens of patients were rushed in after attacks in Rafah intensified in recent days but did not receive timely medical attention.
“There was no space; there were people in the corridors waiting to get into the critical room,” the doctor said. “We are losing many patients all the time.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has reported paramedics on the job being targeted by Israeli forces as well.
The group shared a video on X, which clearly showed bullet holes in the front windscreen of the ambulance.
The PRCS says that the ambulance was shot at and its crew assaulted by Israeli soldiers “while they were attempting to transfer oxygen cylinders from Nasser Hospital to Al-Amal Hospital about a week ago.”
10 civilians killed in deadliest Israeli attack on Lebanon since October
Israel conducted the deadliest attack on Lebanon since October 7, killing at least 10 civilians, including four children, reported Al Jazeera.
Tensions have been high between the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Israel since October 7, as regular fire over their borders has been steadily increasing over the past four months.
Amal Atwi, whose son was killed in Souaneh, said martyrdom has become a way of life in southern Lebanon. “He’s my only son and I have no one else,” she said, reported AP News.
“Let Israel take as much as they want, and we have more to give. Let’s see who will get tired first. It will be them, not us.”
Four Hezbollah fighters were killed in separate attacks, according to the armed group. Senior Hezbollah official and lawmaker Hassan Fadlallah added that Israel will face reprisals after strikes.
“The enemy will pay the price for these crimes,” Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah told Reuters, saying Hezbollah had a “legitimate right to defend its people.”
Israel said that Wednesday’s escalation of attacks came in response to Hezbollah rockets fired on Wednesday morning that killed one Israeli soldier and injured eight more.
“As we have made clear time and time again, Israel is not interested in a war on two fronts. But if provoked, we will respond forcefully,” said Israeli military spokesperson Ilana Stein.
On Tuesday, Nasrallah said his group would only stop its exchanges of fire with Israel if a full ceasefire was reached in Gaza.
“On that day, when the shooting stops in Gaza, we will stop the shooting in the south,” he said in a televised address, as cited by Al Jazeera.
U.S. struggles to get Israel to allow flour into Gaza, Israel doubles down on UNRWA
Amid Israel’s relentless attacks, Gaza’s population is starving due to Israel’s ongoing siege on the area, restricting the entry of humanitarian aid.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says the Israeli government has not allowed the aid into Gaza despite promises to the U.S. government,
“That flour has not moved the way that we had expected it would move, and we expect that Israel will follow through on its commitment to get that flour into Gaza,” said Sullivan, according to Al Jazeera.
As Israel continues to block vital shipments of humanitarian assistance for Gaza, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, that UNRWA cannot be part of humanitarian assistance in Gaza “under any circumstances.”
Following Israel’s claims that UNRWA collaborates with Hamas – a claim which Israel has largely been unable to provide evidence of – several nations, including Germany, suspended their funding to the agency.
“We discussed ways to ensure that the humanitarian aid does not reach the hands of the Hamas murderers – and I told her that UNRWA cannot under any circumstances be part of the aid and that other alternatives must be found. UNRWA is the problem, not the solution,” Katz said on X after the meeting.
“This is the highest proportion of any population in a food security crisis. Virtually all households are skipping meals each day. Some families go days and nights without eating,” according to a joint statement by various organizations, including Action Against Hunger and Save the Children.
Currently, the entire population is living with crisis-level hunger, and one in four households, more than 500,000 people, face catastrophic conditions.
“The risk of famine is increasing each day in Gaza due to the continuation of hostilities, and the continued blockade of the Strip,” the groups said, citing U.N. Security Council Resolution 2417, which condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.
The statement concluded that an immediate and permanent ceasefire, along with a massive increase in humanitarian assistance, is the only way to avoid famine in the besieged coastal enclave.