‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 128: Israeli snipers kill Palestinians at Nasser Hospital; gear up for Rafah invasion
- 28,176+ killed* and at least 67,784 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
- 380+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
- Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
- 564 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**
** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”
- Israeli sniper kills Palestinian man just meters away from the main gate of Nasser Hospital on Sunday morning.
- Dr. Amira Al-Assouli braves Israeli bullets to rescue bleeding man near Nasser Hospital. She says about that moment: “God removed fear from my heart. I felt that someone needed help”.
- WHO chief says he is “deeply concerned about the safety of patients and health personnel due to the intensifying hostilities in the vicinity of the [Nasser] hospital”.
- Palestine Red Crescent Society says three patients died after Israel blocked delivery of oxygen cylinders to Al-Amal Hospital on Sunday morning.
- U.K. Foreign Secretary says he is “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area”.
- Egypt refortified parts of its 2020 wall to prevent Palestinians from fleeing into Sinai during Israel’s planned assault on Rafah.
- Secretary-General of Arab League says “the world must pay attention to the danger of Israeli practice driven by an extremist right-wing agenda that wants to empty the Gaza Strip of its population”.
- Hamas says Israeli attack on Rafah might mean “blowing up” captives exchange talks, ushered by Qatar, Egypt, and CIA.
- Chief of EU foreign policy says, “an Israeli offensive on Rafah might lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt.”
- Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Khadour, 19, succumbs to his wounds after being shot in head by Israeli forces in Biddu village.
- Argentina’s President dances with Israeli settlers at Western in Jerusalem and promises to move embassy to the occupied city.
Ongoing Israeli siege of Khan Younis hospitals
For over 20 days, Israeli snipers and tanks have been besieging the Nasser and Al-Amal Hospitals in Khan Younis, the second-largest city in the Gaza Strip.
Over the past few days, several videos appeared of Palestinians being shot while attempting to enter and exit the medical complex of the Nasser or Al-Amal hospitals.
On Sunday morning, an Israeli sniper shot and killed a Palestinian man just meters away from the main gate of the Nasser. Cautiously and under the fear of being shot, Palestinian medics lifted the body back to the hospital amid the mourning and cries of his relatives.
The Nasser Hospital is the largest equipped medical facility in southern Gaza, which currently shelters at least 300 medical personnel, 450 patients wounded, and around 10,000 displaced Palestinians.
Over the weekend, a woman who braved Israeli sniper bullets and rushed to rescue a bleeding Palestinian outside the Nasser hospital was identified as Dr. Amira Al-Assouli.
She is a gynecology and obstetrics consultant from Khan Younis, recently retired from the Nasser Hospital but went back to volunteer and help her former colleagues following Israel’s aggression on Gaza in October.
Assouli talked to the Wafa news agency about the moment that went viral on social media when she ran to help an injured man on Friday.
“God removed fear from my heart. I felt that someone needed help. I will not think about myself, I will think about saving people,” she said.
Assouli had seen some of her colleagues get shot and killed near the Nasser Hospital, such as Dr. Muhammad Abu Lihiyah, who was killed by Israeli snipers when he tried to rescue an injured Palestinian.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO), wrote on the X platform on Sunday that they are deeply “concerned about the safety of patients and health personnel due to the intensifying hostilities in the vicinity of the [Nasser] hospital.”
Ghebreyesus said that Israeli forces denied the WHO mission entry to the Nasser on Sunday, which remains partially operating.
The Al-Amal Hospital has also been under Israeli siege for over 20 days.
In January, Israeli forces raided the Al-Amal and detained dozens of medical staff, and patients and seized medical equipment. Israeli forces also mined roads and destroyed residential buildings around the Al-Amal and Nasser Hospitals in recent weeks.
“We urge for patients’ and health workers’ immediate release. Health personnel, patients and facilities MUST be protected at all times,” Ghebreyesus added.
On Sunday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), which runs the Al-Amal Hospital, said three patients died after Israel blocked the delivery of oxygen cylinders.
“[Israeli] occupation continues to prevent the entry of fuel, necessary for operating electric generators [in the Al-Amal], even though fuel stock is about to run out in two days,” PRCS added in a statement.
Since October, Israeli forces have pursued a policy of besieging medical facilities and intimidating staff as part of a goal to cut lifelines for Palestinians and to push them outside Gaza.
The Al-Shifa’ Hospital is, perhaps, the starkest example of a Palestinian medical facility being targeted by Israeli forces. Israel claimed that Hamas housed a command center underneath it but has yet to provide any solid evidence.
Israel bombed the vicinity of Al-Shifa’ for weeks, where hundreds of Palestinian families sheltered. Eventually, in November, it stormed the hospital, detained medical staff, and ordered displaced Palestinians to evacuate it before retreating from the area in December.
Warnings against Israeli invasion of Rafah invasion
Israeli forces and government are currently gearing up for a ground invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, which has become home to at least 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.
Many believe such a plan might turn Rafah into a blood bath and force thousands of Palestinian refugees into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Several western leaders and international organizations warned Israel of pushing ahead.
The U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron wrote on X platform that he is “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area.”
However, Cameron stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire, saying that “the priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”
Egypt is the main country to be affected by the Israeli military invasion of Rafah.
In the past weeks, Egypt refortified parts of the mammoth wall it first constructed in 2020 which is made of cement and barbered wires, to prevent Palestinians from fleeing into Sinai during Israel’s planned assault on Rafah.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, said on Saturday that Rafah was the last resort for thousands of displaced Palestinians in Gaza, and Israel’s planned attack is risking destabilizing the entire region.
“The world must pay attention to the danger of Israeli practice driven by an extremist right-wing agenda that wants to empty the Gaza Strip of its population, and achieve complete ethnic cleansing that should have no place in this era,” he added.
Hamas: Israeli attack on Rafah will “blow up” captive exchange talks
Unlike its ground invasion of north and central Gaza, Israeli forces imminent invasion of Rafah will be in close proximity to Egypt’s territory.
Israel’s plan is to occupy the 14-kilometer zone, known as the “Philadelphia Axis”, which borders Egypt and south Gaza, and it runs from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to Karm Abu Salem Crossing in the east.
The “Philadelphia Axis” was under Israeli control until 2005, when former prime minister Ariel Sharon pulled out forces and dismantled settlements in the Gaza Strip. Since then, the border zone has been manned by Egyptian soldiers and the Palestinian government in Gaza.
Israel’s war cabinet concluded in December that in order to fully disarm Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movements, Israeli forces have to launch an invasion of Rafah.
Israel claims that Hamas operates tunnels underneath Rafah to Sinai, although Egyptian authorities said they have flooded these tunnels and destroyed them in the past decade.
On Sunday, a leader from Hamas told Al-Aqsa TV that an Israeli attack on Rafah might mean “blowing up” the captives exchange talks, ushered by Qatar, Egypt, and the CIA.
“Netanyahu is trying to run away from making an exchange deal [with Hamas] by [planning to] commit a genocide and another human catastrophe in Gaza,” he added.
The chief of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, wrote on X that he affirmed “the warning by several EU member states that an Israeli offensive on Rafah might lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt.
Borrel remains hopeful that “resuming negotiations to free hostages and suspend hostilities is the only way to avert a bloodshed.”
Israeli forces bomb Palestinian houses; families starve in north Gaza
Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that Israel killed 112 Palestinian martyrs and injured 173 others in 14 “massacres” in the past 24 hours across the Gaza Strip.
Wafa reported that an Israeli bombing of a house in the east of Rafah killed 25 people and injured dozens overnight.
Israeli forces also bombed central Gaza and Khan Younis. In Deir Al-Balah, Israel bombed the house of the Abu Salmiya family, killing and injuring several people. It also launched several airstrikes on Rafah as it is preparing a ground incursion from areas near Karm Abu Salem Crossing.
Meanwhile, thousands of families in north Gaza remain with little food and drinking water.
Ismail Thawabteh, the media director of the Gaza Government, said some families are living on half a meal every 48 hours as food stocks are drying up. Families who relied on grains, and even fodder, are finding it hard to obtain supplies. Israel is refusing to allow aid to reach north Gaza, while for the past two weeks, Israeli settlers protesting at Karm Abu Salem Crossing blocked several aid trucks from entering the enclave.
Since October, Israel has killed at least 28,176 Palestinians and injured 67,784 others; the majority are women and children, while thousands remain missing and buried under the rubble caused by Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinians in Hebron
Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Khadour, 19, succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli forces in Biddu, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, on Saturday.
Israel has killed more than 380 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October. On Saturday, it shot Khadour in the head while he was inside his car near Kharb al-Lahm village.
Israeli forces stormed several towns and villages overnight, including Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit, Sair and Al-Shuyoukh, northeast of Hebron, Al-Khader near Bethlehem, Al-Bireh, and Jericho.
In Qarawat Bani Hassan, Israeli forces destroyed a greenhouse and electric meter belonging to the Palestinian farmer Hatem Assi.
Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian communities in Hebron Mount, south of the West Bank.
Wafa reported that settlers attacked Palestinians from Masafer Yatta, a community under threat of Israeli evacuation orders. Israeli settlers have become increasingly emboldened in their attacks against Palestinians since Netanyahu’s appointed settler leaders as ministers in his government.
Israeli settlers also attacked the communities and villages of Al-Mufaqara, Al-Tuwanah, Aqoywis, Shaab Al-Battam, and Maghayir Al-Ubaid.
Wafa reported that settlers were disguised in Israeli military attire. In a separate incident, Israeli military vehicle rammed and ran over a camel in Umm Humeita area in Masafer Yatta.
Last week, Argentina President Javier Milei danced with Israeli settlers at the Western Wall (known as Al-Buraq Wall for Palestinians), in occupied Jerusalem, during a “tearful tour” of Israel. Milei said that his country will move the Buenos Aires embassy to the occupied city, following in the footsteps of the United States.
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