Al Jazeera obtained a recording of a conversation between al-Shifa Hospital's Dr. Munir al-Barsh and Israeli forces, where the doctor expressed concern about the impact of their presence on the patients, stating, "You being inside the hospital will create a state of fear and hysteria among the patients here."
He emphasized the crowded conditions in various hospital departments, stating, “All floors of the hospital are full of people from floor one through to six. You keep saying if this will create a problem for you. If you want to enter and see for yourself, the hospital is full of people. The reception and surgery unit is full of displaced people. The dialysis unit is full of people. Delivery, radiology and administration are empty. In the burns unit, on the right side of the hospital, is full of patients and displaced people too.”
The Israeli military claims it is conducting a "precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital." However, as of now, no concrete evidence has been presented to support these allegations.
Mohammed Zaqout, the director of hospitals in Gaza, conveyed the terrifying situation faced by patients, including children, after Israeli forces stormed the buildings. He mentioned patients screaming and expressed helplessness, stating, "It's a very terrifying situation… we can do nothing for the patients but pray."
Gaza's health ministry reported approximately 2,500 people inside the hospital, including medical teams, patients (600 wounded and 36 neonates), and displaced individuals taking shelter.
The Israeli army instructed those sheltering in the facility to gather in the courtyard for a potential evacuation, raising concerns about the destination for the displaced people.
Al-Shifa administrators rejected Israel's evacuation calls without a proper procedure to ensure continuous care for patients. The health ministry spokesman, Al-Qudra, emphasized the need for a safe humanitarian corridor, stating, "We cannot just evacuate the hospital to the street. We would be issuing a death sentence [to the patients]."
Hamas's political bureau member, Izzat al-Risheq, criticized Israel's attempt to portray the raid as an accomplishment, calling it "juvenile politics." He emphasized that al-Shifa Hospital is a civilian facility and not a military target.
Hamas holds Israel and US President Biden fully responsible for the raid, labeling it a "barbaric crime against a medical facility protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention." The group warned of accountability for those involved and accused the White House and Pentagon of providing a green light for further more “massacres against civilians”.
Palestinian Health Minister al-Kaila accused Israeli forces of committing a new crime against humanity, holding them responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients, and displaced people in al-Shifa complex.
Palestinian analyst Thabet Al-Amour downplays the Israeli raid on al-Shifa Hospital, emphasizing the hospital's vulnerability. He contends that a single Israeli warship, given its proximity to Gaza's shores, could easily besiege al-Shifa. Al-Amour questions the rationale behind the Israeli mission to eliminate Hamas, highlighting the impracticality of expecting resistance leaders in a hospital lobby, labeling the situation as sheer madness, emphasizing, "It's a hospital."
As the situation unfolds, concerns persist about the safety and well-being of those inside al-Shifa Hospital, adding to the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.