Israel Strikes South Gaza And Raids A Hospital In The North As War Grinds On With Renewed US Support

Israeli strikes killed at least 28 Palestinians in southern Gaza and troops raided one of the last functioning hospitals in the north as the country pressed ahead with its offensive against Hamas on Tuesday with renewed backing from the United States, despite rising international alarm.

The offensive, launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into Israel, has killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians, displaced some 1.9 million, demolished much of northern Gaza and sparked attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets across the region.

Attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have led major shipping companies — as well as the oil and gas giant BP — to suspend trade through the vital waterway, prompting the U.S. and its allies to launch a new mission to counter the threat.

But after meeting with Israeli officials Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was “not here to dictate timelines or terms.”

His remarks signaled that the U.S. would continue shielding Israel from growing international calls for a cease-fire as the United Nations Security Council was set to hold another vote Tuesday, and that Washington would keep providing vital military aid for one of the 21st century’s deadliest air and ground wars.

A strike on a home in Rafah where displaced people were sheltering killed at least 25 people, including women and children, and another killed at least three people, according to Associated Press journalists who saw the bodies arrive at two local hospitals early Tuesday.

Rafah, which is in the southern part of Gaza where Israel has told Palestinians to seek shelter, has been repeatedly bombarded in recent days, as Israel has struck what it says are militant targets across the territory, often killing large numbers of civilians.

Fierce battles raged in northern Gaza, where Hamas continues to put up still resistance across what is now a battered wasteland seven weeks after Israeli tanks and troops stormed in.


Israeli forces raided the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City overnight and into Tuesday, according to the church that operates it, destroying a wall at its front entrance and detaining most of its staff.

Also known as the Baptist Hospital, it was the scene of an explosion early in the war that killed dozens of Palestinians, and which an Associated Press investigation later determined was likely caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

Don Binder, a pastor at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, which runs the hospital, said the raid left just two doctors, four nurses and two janitors to tend to over 100 seriously wounded patients, with no running water or electricity.

“It has been a great mercy for the many wounded in Gaza City that we were able to keep our Ahli Anglican Hospital open for so long,” Binder wrote in a Facebook post late Monday. “That ended today.”He said an Israeli tank was parked on the rubble at the hospital’s entrance, blocking anyone from entering or leaving.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. Forces have raided other hospitals across Gaza, accusing Hamas of using them for military purposes. Hospital staff have denied the allegations and accused Israel of endangering critically ill and wounded civilians.

In November, after raiding and largely emptying Shifa Hospital — Gaza’s largest — the military revealed what it said was a militant hideout beneath the facility and other evidence that Hamas fighters had been inside the compound. It has yet to substantiate its allegations that Shifa was a major Hamas command center, which would weigh on the question of whether it was protected under international law.

Shifa is once again treating hundreds of wounded patients and sheltering tens of thousands of displaced people under harsh conditions, according to the World Health Organization, which described its emergency room as a “bloodbath.” Witnesses said an Israeli strike hit the medical compound Monday, killing and wounding several people.

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