Israeli tanks massed Tuesday near the gates of Gaza’s main hospital, where Palestinians were trapped in dire conditions, as US President Joe Biden pressed Israel to protect the complex.
After days of intense airstrikes around Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, witnesses said tanks and armored vehicles were within meters of the besieged facility, which has become a focal point of the war which has lasted for five weeks.
Israel accuses Hamas fighters of using the tunnels beneath the hospital as a “command node,” employing the sick and wounded as human shields. This is an accusation that Hamas denies.
Biden called on Israel to use “less intrusive actions in relation to the hospital,” in one of his sharpest comments on Israeli operations to date. “The hospital must be protected,” he told reporters.
Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner insisted that Al-Shifa was “central to Hamas’s command and control capabilities” but said the troops were currently “at gap “.
“The idea is to try to evacuate people, evacuate as many as possible,” he said.