Palestinians Describe 'Total Destruction' At Gaza's Main Hospital After Israeli Military Raid

Palestinians Describe ‘Total Destruction’ At Gaza’s Main Hospital After Israeli Military Raid

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An apparent Israeli airstrike killed four international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver late Monday after they helped deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours earlier by ship, health officials in Gaza said.

Footage showed the bodies of the five dead at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Several of them wore protective gear with the charity’s logo. Staff showed the passports of three of the dead – British, Australian and Polish. The nationality of the fourth aid worker was not immediately known.

The workers’ car was hit by an Israeli strike just after crossing from northern Gaza after helping deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus, Mahmoud Thabet, a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent who was on the team that brought the bodies to the hospital, told The Associated Press. The source of fire could not be independently confirmed and the Israeli military did not respond to requests for comment.

The aid ships that arrived Monday carried some 400 tons of food and supplies in a shipment organized by the United Arab Emirates and the World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. Last month a ship delivered 200 tons of aid in a pilot run. The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries. A spokesperson for the charity could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver desperately needed aid to northern Gaza, where several hundred Palestinians face imminent famine, largely cut off from the rest of the territory by Israeli forces. Israel has barred UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, from making deliveries to the north, and other aid groups say sending truck convoys north has been too dangerous because of the military’s failure to ensure safe passage.

The strike came hours after Israeli troops ended a two-week raid on Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, leaving the facility largely gutted and a swath of destruction in the surrounding neighborhoods. Footage showed Shifa’s main buildings had been reduced to burned-out husks.

Israel said it launched the raid on Shifa because senior Hamas operatives had regrouped there and were planning attacks. The military said its troops killed 200 militants in the operation, though the claim that they were all militants could not be confirmed, and Palestinians coming to the site after the troops withdrew found bodies of civilians.

(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death) Passports of the international World Central Kitchen’s aid workers, who were killed by an Israeli airstrike on their vehicle in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on April 1, 2024. Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images


Syrian officials and state media said an Israeli airstrike destroyed the Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing two Iranian generals and five officers. The strike appears to signify an escalation of Israel’s targeting of Iranian military officials and their allies in Syria. The targeting has intensified since Hamas militants — who are supported by Iran — attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges such strikes, said it had no comment. Iran’s ambassador, Hossein Akbari, vowed revenge for the attack “at the same magnitude and harshness.”

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would shut down satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera immediately after parliament passed a law Monday clearing the way for the country to halt the Qatari-owned channel from broadcasting from Israel.

Netanyahu called the network the “terror channel” and accused it of harming Israeli security, participating in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and inciting violence against Israel.

Al Jazeera condemned his remarks, calling them “a dangerous and ridiculous lie” and saying they were Netanyahu’s justification “for the ongoing assault” on the media network and press freedom. In a statement, the network vowed to persist in its reporting with “boldness and professionalism.”

A woman mourns as Palestinians gather around the destroyed al-Shifa Hospital, after Israeli forces withdrew from medical complex in Gaza City, Gaza on April 1, 2024.Dawoud Abo Alkas/Anadolu via Getty Images


The Shifa raid gutted a facility that had once been the heart of Gaza’s health care system but which doctors and staff had struggled to get even partially operating again after a previous Israeli assault in November. Several witnesses said army bulldozers had plowed up a mass grave that had been dug in November in Shifa’s courtyard, leaving many bodies exposed.

The latest assault triggered days of heavy fighting for blocks around Shifa, with witnesses reporting airstrikes, the shelling of homes and troops going house to house to force residents to leave. Israeli authorities identified six officials from Hamas’ military wing they said were killed inside the hospital during the raid. Israel also said it seized weapons and valuable intelligence.

After the troops withdrew, hundreds of Palestinians returned to search for lost loved ones or examine the damage.

Among the dead were Ahmed Maqadma and his mother — both doctors at Shifa — and his cousin, said Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a Palestinian-British doctor who volunteered at Shifa and other hospitals during the first months of the war before returning to Britain.

The fate of the three had been unknown since they talked by phone with family as they tried to leave Shifa nearly a week ago and the line suddenly went dead. On Monday, relatives found their bodies with gunshot wounds about a block from the hospital, said Abu Sitta, who is in touch with the family.

Mohammed Mahdi, who was among those who returned to the area, described a scene of “total destruction.” He said several buildings had been burned down and that he counted six bodies in the area, including two in the hospital courtyard, though it was not clear when they died.

Palestinians walk through the destruction left by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip near al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Monday, April 1, 2024.Mohammed Hajjar via Associated Press

An inside view of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on April 1, 2024. The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the medical complex, following a 14-day siege and incursion that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests.Dawoud Abo Alkas/Anadolu via Getty Images

At least 21 patients died during the raid, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posted late Sunday on X, formerly Twitter.

The military denied that its forces harmed any civilians inside the compound. Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes and has raided many hospitals across the territory.

Critics accuse the army of recklessly endangering civilians and of decimating a health sector already overwhelmed with wounded.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the top military spokesman, said Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group established their main northern headquarters inside the hospital. He described days of close-quarters fighting and blamed Hamas for the destruction, saying some fighters barricaded themselves inside hospital wards while others launched mortar rounds at the compound.

Hagari said the troops arrested some 900 suspected militants during the raid, including more than 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters,  » …
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