Palestinians say Israeli soldiers have pulled out of Gaza’s main hospital after a two-week offensive

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) – Palestinians say Israeli soldiers have withdrawn from Gaza’s main hospital after attack for two weeksthey are leaving a huge mess.

Hundreds of people have returned to Shifa Hospital and the surrounding areas after leaving early on Monday, where bodies were found inside and outside the hospital.

There has been no immediate comment from the military, which has described the attack as one of the most successful operations in the nearly six-month war. The military is said to have killed dozens of Hamas and other militants, including senior officials, and seized valuable weapons and intelligence.

Mohammed Mahdi, who was among those who returned, described the scene as “total destruction.” He said several houses were burnt. He counted six bodies in the area, including two in the hospital yard.

Another resident, Yahia Abu Auf, said there are still patients, medical workers and refugees living inside the hospital. He said several patients were taken to the nearby Ahli hospital. He said military bullets hit a makeshift grave inside the hospital.

He said: “This is unbelievable. “This job has cost a lifetime here.”

Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes and has attacked several hospitals. Critics accuse the army of recklessly endangering civilians and undermining a health sector already overwhelmed by war casualties.

The army had previously attacked Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, in November, after claiming that Hamas had maintained a command and control center inside and below the square. It revealed a tunnel under the hospital that led to several rooms.

The battle began on Oct. 7, when terrorists led by Hamas invaded southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 hostages. Israel responded with air, land and sea attacks that have killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, driven many from the the region is driving a third of its people to starvation.


Magdy reported from Cairo.


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