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Israeli strikes hit civilian facilities at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, not underground targets: New York Times analysis

LONDON: Parts of Al-Shifa Hospital, including its courtyard, an outpatient clinic and a maternity ward on the fifth floor, were hit by Israeli strikes on Friday (November 10), which did not appear to target underground infrastructure, according to an analysis by video and photographic evidence by the New York Times.

The newspaper’s report comes as Israel faces growing international pressure to stop targeting hospitals and other civilian targets in Gaza.

The Israeli military has repeatedly said it has evidence that Hamas established a command center in tunnels beneath the hospital, which is Gaza’s largest medical center. On this basis, it is a key target in the military response to Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7. Hospital officials deny the allegations and Hamas has said it does not use the hospitals for military purposes.

The strikes in the early hours of Friday hit several parts of the medical facility and, according to hospital authorities, killed seven people. Local media reported that at least 10 people had died. Israel blamed Palestinian militants, saying a “failed projectile” targeting Israeli forces had hit the hospital.

However, evidence collected by the New York Times and analyzed by experts suggests that Al-Shifa was hit by Israeli munitions that “did not appear to target underground infrastructure.” In a report published Tuesday, the newspaper indicates that “two of the most serious strikes affected the upper floors of the maternity ward.”

Its findings were based on photographs of weapons fragments collected and verified by the newspaper, as well as analysis of video footage filmed Friday by social media influencer Saleh Al-Jafarawi and Gazan journalists Motasem Mortaja and Ahmed Hijazee.

Experts who analyzed the evidence said at least three of the projectiles that hit Al-Shifa appeared to be Israeli munitions. Videos suggest they were fired on the hospital from locations to the north and south, where Israeli forces were positioned.

Videos and photos obtained by The New York Times show that after 2 a.m. Friday, a strike hit the fifth floor of a hospital maternity ward.

This was followed about an hour and a half later by an explosion when a projectile hit the busy entrance to an outpatient clinic. A video filmed by journalist Hijazee shows “chaotic scenes of men, women and children injured in the strike”, according to the New York Times, and two children apparently dead on the ground.

Thousands of displaced Gazans, including women and children, had sought shelter at the hospital since the Israeli assault on the besieged territory began last month. After Friday’s strikes, thousands of people fled south, but hundreds remained, along with hospital staff and patients.

The New York Times said in its report that the Israeli military “declined to comment on the evidence,” saying that due to “the specific military activity currently underway, we are unable to respond or confirm specific requests.

This week, Israeli troops attacked Al-Shifa on Wednesday morning in what they described as a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area.” Six tanks were deployed in the courtyard of the medical complex and around 100 commandos searched rooms in the buildings, according to local media.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday it was “extremely concerned” for medical staff and patients at the hospital after it lost contact with staff there.

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