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

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

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

The Israeli military has repeatedly stated it has evidence that Hamas established a command center in tunnels beneath the hospital, which is the largest medical center in Gaza. Based on this, it has been a key target in the military response to the Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. Hospital officials deny the allegations and Hamas has said it does not use 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 outlets reported that at least 10 people died. Israel blamed Palestinian militants, saying a “misfired projectile” targeting Israeli forces hit the hospital instead.

However, evidence collected by the New York Times and analyzed by experts suggested Al-Shifa was hit by Israeli munitions that “did not appear to be targeting underground infrastructure.” In a report published on Tuesday, the newspaper said that “two of the most severe strikes hit upper floors of the maternity ward.”

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

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

The videos and photos obtained by the New York Times showed that sometime after 2 a.m. on Friday, a strike hit the fifth floor of a maternity unit at the hospital.

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

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

The New York Times said in its report that the Israel Defense Forces “declined to comment on the evidence,” saying that because of the “specific military activity currently underway, we are unable to address or confirm specific queries.”

This week, Israeli troops raided 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 about 100 commandos searched rooms in the buildings there, according to local media reports.

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it was “extremely worried” about medics and patients at the hospital, as it had lost contact with its staff there.

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