The reported targeting of al-Shifa is part of a broader Israeli military strategy aimed at dismantling Hamas' extensive tunnel network. (Related: Israel has already attacked hospitals and health care facilities in Gaza 51 times, says "horrified" United Nations.)
Israeli officials assert that al-Shifa, in addition to being a medical facility, conceals deep underground tunnels used by Hamas for military purposes. However, the targeting of hospitals raises ethical questions and sparks international legal concerns, as attacks on medical facilities are generally considered violations of International Humanitarian Law.
The Israeli forces have also surrounded other hospitals in Gaza, demanding evacuations. This move adds complexity to the already challenging task of providing medical care in the region and raises questions about the impact on civilians, especially those seeking medical assistance.
The ongoing conflict has prompted tens of thousands of Palestinians to seek refuge in hospitals, including al-Shifa, placing an additional burden on already strained medical facilities.
The World Health Organization has reported that at least five Gaza hospitals have been targeted, and the attacks have left 20 hospitals "out of action." This situation underscores the urgent need for international humanitarian interventions and calls for an immediate ceasefire.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has emphasized the necessity of protecting civilians, expressing deep concern over the high Palestinian death toll.
The conflict's toll has surpassed 12,400 lives lost, with over 100 United Nations aid workers killed in Gaza.
A video released by the UN Relief and Works Agency confirmed that 101 workers, including teachers, doctors, engineers, and sanitation workers, have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The deliberate targeting of essential personnel poses a severe threat to the region's ability to provide medical assistance and essential services. This grim reality underscores the urgency of global calls for a ceasefire and diplomatic initiatives to address the root causes of the conflict.
Sanad, Al Jazeera's digital investigation agency, has refuted Israeli authorities' recent claim that there is a Hamas tunnel beneath the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Hospital.
Israeli officials have frequently asserted the existence of tunnels under Gaza hospitals as a justification for targeting these health facilities, which are protected under international law during conflicts.
A video released by Israel's military showed a hatch near an exterior wall of the hospital, alleging it led to a Hamas tunnel.
However, Sanad's investigation, based on satellite footage, construction archives and conversations with an original engineer, revealed that the hatch is for a water reservoir used for therapeutic pools, landscaping and emergency water supply.
The hospital, constructed by Qatar and operational since 2019, has suffered damage from Israel's airstrikes on medical facilities in Gaza.
Israel's claims about tunnels under hospitals raise concerns about potential violations of international law, given the protected status of civilians and medical institutions.
Watch this video of Israel Defense Forces' siege of Al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza.
This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on Brighteon.com.