Nov. 10, GAZA/DUBAI (Reuters) – As Gaza officials reported Israeli airstrikes on or near several hospitals in the Palestinian territory, Iran issued a warning that the extent of civilian suffering brought on by Israel’s war on Hamas would unavoidably lead to an escalation of the conflict.
Concerns over whether Washington’s diplomatic efforts and the deployment of American naval forces to the eastern Mediterranean will be sufficient to prevent the conflict from further destabilizing the Middle East may intensify in light of the remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Amir-Abdollahian informed his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday night that “expansion of the scope of the war has become inevitable due to the expansion of the intensity of the war against Gaza’s civilian residents.”
These remarks were made over the phone on Friday, according to a report by Iran’s state-run Press TV.
Over the course of the last month, Israel’s shelling and siege of Gaza have resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe, with thousands of people seeking shelter and medical attention in the few facilities that are still operational while those operating in the battle zone face great risks.
“The Israeli occupation launched simultaneous strikes on a number of hospitals during the past hours,” Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra told Al Jazeera television.
Qidra said an Israeli strike hit a courtyard in the Al Shifa hospital, the biggest in Gaza City, causing casualties, but he did not provide details. Israel said Hamas has hidden command centres and tunnels beneath Al Shifa, and other hospitals such as the Indonesian Hospital, allegations Hamas denies.
Although Reuters was unable to independently verify Qidra’s claim, Israel’s military has stated that it does not specifically target people.
Israel’s military released a statement that read, “While the world sees neighborhoods with schools, hospitals, scout groups, children’s playgrounds, and mosques, Hamas sees an opportunity to exploit.”
Although Iran maintains its support for Hamas, it denies any involvement in the terrorists’ brutal attack on Israel last month, which set off the current crisis. Iran also supports Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian movement in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon with close ties to Hamas.
Hospital Damaged by Explosion
Following the militants’ invasion on southern Israel on October 7, the Israeli military has been waging a month-long campaign to destroy Hamas. As a result, medical supplies, potable water, and fuel for generators have been running low, making it difficult for Gaza’s hospitals to provide care for their patients.
According to Gaza’s health ministry, fuel shortages or damage from shelling has forced 18 of the country’s 35 hospitals and 40 other health facilities to close.
On Friday, Palestinian media released footage of Al Shifa that purported to show the aftermath of an Israeli attack on a parking lot where journalists were watching and displaced Palestinians were being housed. Reuters was unable to quickly corroborate the footage.
A man’s body was lying on a stretcher with a pool of blood next to it.
“With ongoing strikes and fighting nearby (Al Shifa), we are gravely concerned about the well-being of thousands of civilians there, many children among them, seeking medical care and shelter,” Human Rights Watch stated on the social media platform X.
Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital and Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital “have been witnessing a series of direct attacks and bombardments” on Friday, according to Qidra. Vehicles were set on fire by strikes on the Al-Rantisi hospital grounds, he claimed, although they had been partially put out.
The Indonesian Hospital, which is situated at the northernmost point of the small coastal enclave, sustained damage from explosions that occurred close to it overnight, according to a statement released by the country’s foreign ministry on Friday. It made no mention of who set off the explosion or of any fatalities or injuries.
The ministry released a statement saying, “Indonesia once again condemns the savage attacks on civilians and civilian objects, especially humanitarian facilities in Gaza.”
Israel agrees to pauses, the US says.
Israel claims that in the Oct. 7 raid that set off the Israeli assault, 1,400 people—mostly civilians—were killed and roughly 240 were captured by Hamas. 35 Israeli troops are reportedly dead in Gaza.
According to Palestinian statistics, as of Thursday, 10,812 people had died in air and artillery strikes in Gaza, with over 40% of the casualties being minors.
Residents of central Gaza City claim that tanks were within 1.2 km (3/4 mile) of Al Shifa as a result of Israel’s military assault, raising concerns about how Israel would interpret international regulations safeguarding medical facilities and the displaced people who are seeking sanctuary there.
Severe disagreements regarding Israel’s military’s compliance with international law have already arisen among some of its Western partners in response to deadly airstrikes on refugee camps, a medical convoy, and areas close to hospitals.
Some injured Palestinian citizens are now able to enter Egypt to receive medical attention thanks to the Israeli military.
According to a post made on X on Thursday, Israeli President Joe Biden has “an obligation to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and fully comply with international law.”
There was no indication of a lull in the fighting, the White House said on Thursday, despite Israel’s agreement to suspend military operations in some areas of northern Gaza for four hours each day.
According to White House national security spokeswoman John Kirby, the pauses were important initial moves because they would let civilians to evacuate along two humanitarian corridors and may be utilized to free captives.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that any gaps would be brief and that no formal agreement had been reached on a schedule for regular ones.
Netanyahu responded, “No,” when asked if there will be a “stoppage” in violence on Fox News Channel. We want to make it easier for people to leave the combat zone safely, therefore we’re doing that even as the fighting against the Hamas enemy—the Hamas terrorists—continues, although temporarily in certain areas for a few hours here or there.”
reporting from Reuters bureaus including Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick, and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, Maytaal Angel, Emily Rose, and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Rami Amichay in Tel Aviv, and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Written by Michael Perry and Cynthia Osterman; edited by Grant McCool and Simon Cameron-Moore