Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Israel-Gaza conflict: Tanks shell Gaza's Al Aqsa hospital killing four and wounding 30 medical staff, as seven more Israeli soldiers die

Seen from Gaza City, smoke and flames rise from Gaza's electricity distribution company plant after it was hit by Israeli strikes in the Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip,Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Seen from Gaza City, smoke and flames rise from Gaza's electricity distribution company plant after it was hit by Israeli strikes in the Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip,Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises from the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, shortly after was hit and destroyed by an Israeli strike, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke rises from the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, shortly after was hit and destroyed by an Israeli strike, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Police officers stand in red paint which was thrown during a rally outside the Israeli Embassy to oppose Israel's actions in Gaza on July 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Police officers stand in red paint which was thrown during a rally outside the Israeli Embassy to oppose Israel's actions in Gaza on July 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Israel shelled a Gaza Strip hospital and killed at least four people on the same day that seven Israeli soldiers died in a firefight in Gaza.

The Israeli military confirmed the deaths on Monday, but did not give any further information on the circumstances on Monday. The incident raises the Israeli death toll to 27, including two civilians.

Earlier in the day, Israeli tanks reportedly shelled a hospital in Gaza, killing at least four people and wounding 60, half of whom were medical staff.

The reported strikes on its hospital came as the Palestinian death toll across Gaza rose to at least 550, with more than 3,100 wounded, since 8 July, officials said.

A Palestinian health official said that 12 shells had been fired at the Al Aqsa hospital in the town of Deir el-Balah, striking parts of the building that included the intensive care unit and the surgery department.

The wounded were shown in live footage from Hamas's local TV station in Al Aqsa being moved on gurneys to the emergency department.

The health official, Ashraf al-Kidra, told the Associated Press that 30 of those hurt were working as medical staff at the hospital.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the report, which came from a different part of Gaza to the Al Wafa hospital that was damaged by missile fire last week.

A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the Al Aqsa station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.

"There is still shelling against the hospital," he said. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.

Beisan Dhahir, seven, survived with her aunt and uncle after her home was destroyed in the Israeli attack on Shijaiyah, but her mother, father, brother, sister and baby sister were killed (AP)
Beisan Dhahir, seven, survived with her aunt and uncle after her home was destroyed in the Israeli attack on Shijaiyah, but her mother, father, brother, sister and baby sister were killed (AP)
Palestinians seek refuge at a United Nations school after fleeing their homes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip (AP)
Palestinians seek refuge at a United Nations school after fleeing their homes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip (AP)
Turkey PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israel has been more barbaric than Hitler in its Gaza bombardment (AP)
Turkey PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israel has been more barbaric than Hitler in its Gaza bombardment (AP)

Zidane appealed to the Red Cross and a nearby hospital to send help.

The Al Aqsa district was one of those visited by Pope Francis when he toured Gaza and Israel towards the end of May - a foray for peace that is far removed from today's rapidly escalating Middle East crisis.

On the Israeli side, 18 soldiers and two civilians have been killed, including two American citizens fighting for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

Yesterday saw more than 100 deaths in a single offensive on the district of Shijaiyah, described as a "terror stronghold" by the IDF but home to around 100,000 people.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has flown to Cairo today join diplomatic efforts to secure an ceasefire, and was joined in his call for an immediate truce last night by Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But despite speaking to the US President in a phone call on Sunday night, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said Israel's offensive would continue "as long as necessary" to end rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israel-Gaza conflict: live streaming video from Gaza 

Further reading

The myth of Hamas’s human shield 

Israel-Gaza conflict: UN chief Ban Ki-moon pushing for ceasefire

Gaza bloodbath claims 500 Palestinian lives in relentless Israeli onslaught

Israel-Gaza conflict: Gaza suffers its deadliest day after ‘heinous massacre’ in Shuja’iya

Scores dead in Gaza ground battle 

Gaza action 'must be proportionate'

Israel more brutal than Hitler: Turkish PM

Thousands gather for Gaza protest

What if British had treated Northern Irish like Israel treats Palestine?

Israel launches Gaza ground offensive as four more Palestinian children are killed including a five-month-old baby

Response to Gaza 'lily-livered'

Gaza children killed as they played football on the beach

Israeli government insists it does not target civilians – the day after four children are killed by shelling

Israel actions 'disproportionate'

Gaza: Four Palestinian boys killed in Israeli rocket attack on beach

The deep-lying racism fuelling the Israeli onslaught

Alexei Sayle: Israel is Jimmy Savile of nation states

'Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and hookahs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'

Gaza back-story: A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory

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