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Hamas-Controlled Hospitals in Gaza Outed as ‘Human Shields’ Amid Israeli Ground Operations

Smoke rises as displaced Palestinians take shelter at Al Shifa hospital, amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, in Gaza City, Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Doaa Rouqa

The Hamas terrorist organization’s use of civilian hospitals as centers for storing military equipment and planning attacks has been revealed as a serious human rights violation as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) close in on Al Shifa, a major hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has long said the hospital was home to the Palestinian terror group’s main base of operations, as well as cover for the coastal enclave’s complex tunnel system and a hideout for fuel, water, food, and other supplies that were being withheld from Gaza’s civilian population.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, has denied this charge — an increasingly untenable position after this weekend, when Israel’s army took control of the areas immediately surrounding the hospital, holding territory just a block away. At the same time, gunfire emerged from the sprawling hospital complex — where battle has been ensuing — exposing it as a center for Hamas fighters.

The European Union on Sunday lambasted Hamas for using hospitals as “human shields,” calling for civilians to be allowed to leave the area of fighting.

“The EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas,” the EU said in a statement. “Civilians must be allowed to leave the combat zone. These hostilities are severely impacting hospitals and taking a horrific toll on civilians and medical staff.”

The statement went on to demand the immediate release of the roughly 240 hostages kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during their Oct. 7 massacre of southern Israeli communities. The hostages include children and elderly civilians.

Israel has presented an abundance of evidence in recent weeks detailing how Hamas has converted hospitals into operation centers and launchpads for missiles, while shielding the terror group behind the civilians using them.

Al Shifa is not the first hospital in Gaza to be the subject of controversy during the current war.

Last month, a misfired Palestinian rocket from Gaza caused a widely reported explosion near the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, according to intelligence from Israel and several Western governments. Experts agreed that Israel was not responsible, despite Hamas and several media outlets falsely blaming an Israeli air strike for causing the hospital blast.

It is expected that the IDF will take over Al Shifa in the coming days. The Israeli army has already helped to evacuate patients toward southern Gaza, including newborn infants. Much of the hospital staff has also evacuated south, with reports from Gaza saying that the hospital has lost all power and suspended operations after running out of fuel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel had offered fuel to Al Shifa, but that the terrorists had refused to receive it. Several press reports, citing Arab and Western officials, have corroborated Israeli claims that Hamas has been hoarding hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel for rockets and electricity used to power its network of underground tunnels as Gaza hospitals struggle to maintain power.

Meanwhile, Israel announced that 200 million NIS (about $52 million) would be directed to completing the fortification of hospitals around the country, where roughly half are now protected from rocket and missile fire.

Troy O. Fritzhand, who goes by Osher in Hebrew, is a Jerusalem-based journalist covering Israeli politics, culture, and technology. An immigrant from New York, Troy is an entrepreneur and Hebrew thinker who helps oversee the start-up ecosystem in Jerusalem with Made in JLM. You can learn more about him at troyfritzhand.com. He previously served as the Politics and Knesset reporter at The Jerusalem Post and has been published in Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).

The post Hamas-Controlled Hospitals in Gaza Outed as ‘Human Shields’ Amid Israeli Ground Operations first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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