JERUSALEM (AP) — The head of surgery at Gaza's largest and most advanced hospital held up his phone Saturday to the hammering of gunfire and artillery shelling. “Listen,” said Dr. Marwan Abu Sada as fighting raged around Shifa Hospital.
Shells hissed through the hospital courtyard and crashed into wards while Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants locked in close quarters combat. Doctors tried to help patients even as they ran for cover.
Abu Sada described Shifa as a deathtrap for thousands of war-wounded, medical staff and displaced civilians sheltering there. The Israeli military denied it launched direct strikes or placed Shifa under siege.
In this Israel-Hamas war, hospitals in the main combat zone of northern Gaza have increasingly ended up in the crosshairs as Israeli tanks crunch through the hollowed-out heart of Gaza City. They have also become flashpoints for warring narratives.
Israel says Hamas militants are using hospitals as shields for fighters but hasn't provided evidence of that, while Palestinians and rights groups accuse Israel of recklessly harming civilians seeking shelter.
The battles around Shifa on Saturday raised an urgent question: When do medical facilities lose special protection under international humanitarian law?
WHAT DOES ISRAEL SAY?
Israel claims that Hamas locates military assets under hospitals and other sensitive sites like schools and mosques. Bloodshed serves Hamas'…