Israel-Gaza live updates: UN official ‘appalled’ by Israeli raid on Al-Shifa Hospital


(NEW YORK) — Thousands of people have died and thousands more have been injured since the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel retaliated with a bombing campaign and total siege of the neighboring Gaza Strip, leaving the region on the verge of all-out war.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Nov 15, 7:34 AM EST
IDF suggests it has not yet encountered Hamas fighters inside Al-Shifa Hospital

A senior Israeli defense official said Wednesday that so far Israeli troops have not engaged in combat inside Al-Shifa Hospital itself and suggested they have not yet encountered Hamas fighters within the vast medical complex, the largest in the Gaza Strip.

However, the Israel Defense Forces’ ground operation at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is ongoing and they have allegedly found evidence that Hamas, the militant group that rules the strip, is operating inside there, according to the official. More details will be revealed later Wednesday, the official said.

The official noted that Israeli soldiers went into the hospital to destroy Hamas infrastructure, not to go after Hamas leaders.

The official told reporters that four Hamas fighters were killed near Al-Shifa Hospital as Israeli troops approached, but they are still investigating if they came from inside the complex.

The official said Israeli forces are currently operating only in “one area” of the hospital but warned that they will enter other areas as needed. The IDF has “no intention” of sending its soldiers to fight “among the patients or the active personnel of the hospital,” according to the official.

The official told reporters that the hospital’s youngest patients — dozens of premature babies — are in a building of the complex not where Israeli troops are currently operating. Israeli soldiers delivered incubators and baby food at the front gate of the hospital in hopes that the staff there would take them, according to the official.

The official declined to say where exactly Israeli forces were operating within the complex, citing operational security.

Al-Shifa Hospital was designed by Israeli architects decades ago and the IDF knows its layout well.

Nov 15, 5:50 AM EST
UN official ‘appalled’ by Israeli raid on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital

The head of the United Nations’ humanitarian relief operations condemned on Wednesday the Israeli military’s ongoing raid on the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, saying he is “appalled” by the reports of the operations.

“I’m appalled by reports of military raids in Al Shifa hospital in #Gaza. The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns. Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Nov 15, 5:23 AM EST
IDF continues hourslong raid on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital

The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday morning that its ground troops are continuing to carry out “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.

“The activity in this specified area is based on operational necessities, as well as intelligence information that indicates Hamas terrorist activity is being directed from the area,” the IDF said in a statement. “Prior to their entry, the IDF troops encountered explosive devices and terrorist cells, and an engagement began in which terrorists were killed.”

The raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City began after midnight local time, after Israeli forces had moved closer to the medical complex for several days. Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said gunfire was heard on the hospital grounds and Israeli troops entered through the main building and the emergency department.

Thousands of civilians, along with hundreds of patients — most of whom are seriously ill — have been sheltering at Al-Shifa, according to hospital staff and Gaza health officials.

The IDF alleges that Hamas has placed its command centers under Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza and is deliberately sheltering behind Palestinian civilians — claims which the militant group denies.

The IDF said Wednesday that its troops “are conducting searches for Hamas terror infrastructure and weapons” at Al-Shifa Hospital. They also “delivered humanitarian aid to the entrance of the hospital,” according to the IDF.

Doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital have been warning of its imminent collapse due to a lack of electricity as well as limited fuel and medical supplies.

Nov 14, 7:19 PM EST
IDF says it’s carrying out ‘targeted operation’ in Al-Shifa Hospital

The Israel Defense Forces said they are carrying out a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas” in an area in the Al-Shifa Hospital.

“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields,” IDF said in a statement.

IDF called upon Hamas militants in the hospital to surrender.

The operation comes after IDF called for military activities in the hospital to “cease within 12 hours,” IDF said, adding: “Unfortunately, it did not.”

Nov 14, 6:35 PM EST
IDF says it will storm Al-Shifa Hospital soon, Gaza Health Ministry says

The Israel Defense Forces have informed the Gaza Health Ministry that they will storm the Al-Shifa Hospital in several minutes, Dr. Ashraf al Qadra, spokesman of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, said on Al-Jazeera TV.

-ABC News’ Nasser Atta

Nov 14, 5:53 PM EST
State Department grappling with dissent over US handling of conflict: Sources

State Department employees have sent multiple internal communications in recent days expressing concerns over the administration’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war, including at least one dissent cable, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The dissent channel is a system that allows diplomats to confidentially register their opposition to specific policies with department leadership, but employees can also formally express their disagreement to high-level officials through other avenues.

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller confirmed Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a department-wide email on Monday where he noted the tensions and different views among employees.

“He did address in that email…all the issues underlying our policy and made clear people understood what our policy is, just as he has done in meetings he’s had with a number of employees in the department,” Miller told reporters.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Nov 14, 4:29 PM EST
Nearly 1,000 Americans and family members still possibly waiting to leave Gaza: State Department

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday that just under 1,000 Americans and their family members may be waiting to leave Gaza, as hundreds have left so far through the Rafah border crossing.

“There are now over 600 American citizens and lawful permanent residents and their family members who have departed Gaza through Rafah gate,” Miller said during a briefing. “There are a little under 1,000 that we know of that are left now whose departure we hope to facilitate over the coming days should they wish to depart.”

The number of eligible individuals who may be looking to leave the enclave is higher than previously anticipated, based on previous State Department figures. Before the Rafah gate opened to outbound traffic, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said some 400 Americans and roughly 600 of their eligible family members were in contact with the department about leaving Gaza.

-ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Nov 14, 4:11 PM EST
Israel claims Hamas has ‘lost control of Northern Gaza’

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a briefing Tuesday that “Hamas has lost control of Northern Gaza.”

“We control Northern Gaza, especially Gaza City,” Gallant said.

Gallant said the Israel Defense Forces have uncovered 500 tunnels, including in schools, mosques and hospitals, as it seeks to remove Hamas’ leadership and military from Gaza.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Nov 14, 2:56 PM EST
Breakthrough in hostage deal could come in next 48-72 hours: Israeli source

A senior Israeli political source said Tuesday that progress has been made on a hostage deal and a breakthrough could come in the next 48-72 hours.

The Israeli War Cabinet is meeting Tuesday night to discuss the deal, the source said.

Israeli officials have said as many as 239 Israelis are being held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller

Nov 14, 2:55 PM EST
US intelligence shows Hamas using hospitals to support military operations, hold hostages: Kirby

The U.S. has intelligence that shows Hamas has used hospitals in Gaza to support its military operations and hold hostages, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed Tuesday.

“I can confirm for you that we have information that Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, used some hospitals in the Gaza Strip — including Al-Shifa — and tunnels underneath them to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages,” Kirby said during a gaggle on Air Force One.

Kirby said Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where “they have stored weapons there, and they’re prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility.”

Kirby said the information comes from a “variety” of intelligence sourcing.

He cautioned again that these actions by Hamas “do not lessen Israel’s responsibilities to protect civilians in Gaza.”

“This is something that we obviously are going to continue to have an active conversation with our counterparts about,” he said.

During a Pentagon briefing Tuesday, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh described the information as an independent U.S. intelligence assessment and “newly downgraded information that we felt was important to get out today because there have been a lot of questions about the hospital and how Hamas operates.”

Singh did not go into specifics on the intel but said “we feel very confident in our sourcing and what the intelligence community has gathered on this topic.”

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez and Luis Martinez

Nov 14, 2:42 PM EST
Fuel shortage stalls aid deliveries from Egypt into Gaza Strip, official says

A fuel shortage has stalled aid deliveries from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, a Rafah border crossing official told ABC News on Tuesday.

“No aid got in today because [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees] trucks have no fuel,” Wael Abu Omar, the Palestinian spokesman for the Rafah border crossing, said.

The UNRWA, which is responsible for receiving and distributing humanitarian aid coming from Egypt in Gaza, said Monday its trucks ran out of fuel and it would not be able to to receive aid coming through Rafah on Tuesday.

Tuesday marks the first day no aid trucks crossed into Gaza through Egypt since Oct. 21 amid the war.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said it received the last convoy of trucks from Egypt on Monday, including 155 trucks, following the UNRWA’s announcement.

-ABC News’ Ayat Al-Tawy

Nov 14, 12:28 PM EST
Mass grave dug inside Al-Shifa Hospital, official says

A mass grave has been dug inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to bury dozens of corpses after Israeli forces banned the Red Cross from collecting the bodies, according to Dr. Munir Al-Bursh, the director general of the Palestinian Health Ministry.

“There are approximately 100 corpses lying on the hospital courtyard that have rotted and decomposed,” Al-Bursh told Al-Hadath TV on Tuesday, speaking from inside the hospital, the largest in Gaza. “We are walking on worms and we fear there will be an epidemic.”

Medical staff and people sheltering inside the medical complex have dug a “large hole” to bury the dead bodies, he said. Dozens of other bodies stored in refrigerators at the facility will also be buried in the mass grave, he said.

“Israel tanks are at the gates of the hospital and we are burying bodies under gunfire and with tanks around,” Al-Bursh said.

The hospital ceased to function on Saturday after it ran out of fuel, and staff and health ministry officials inside say the facility has been under siege by Israeli forces for five days, with drones and snipers firing into it.

“We are trying to dig a mass grave to bury the martyrs inside Al-Shifa Hospital. Our efforts to remove the bodies of the martyrs from Al-Shifa complex have failed,” said Dr. Youssef Abu Al-Rish, undersecretary of the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

Israeli officials have said Hamas is operating a command center from under the hospital, something denied by Hamas.

-ABC News’ Ayat Al-Tawy and Morgan Winsor

Nov 14, 11:31 AM EST
Humanitarian corridor in Gaza is less than 1.5 miles long, Israeli officer says

One of two humanitarian corridors that the Israeli military has temporarily opened in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday is less than 1.5 miles long, according to an executive officer of an Israeli battalion in charge of the route.

The officer told ABC News that the corridor is a 2-kilometer stretch of Salah al-Din, the main highway connecting the north and south of Gaza. He said his troops have come under sniper fire and that “there were casualties.”

The Israeli military has distributed leaflets directing civilians in the north to routes that take them to the corridors, offering safe passage to evacuate to the south of the war-torn enclave within a designated window of time on Tuesday.

ABC News’ Matt Gutman, Becky Perlow and Juan Rentaria

Nov 14, 7:53 AM EST
IDF says it’s offered to transfer incubators to Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces announced Tuesday morning that it “is in the process of coordinating the transfer of incubators from a hospital in Israel to Gaza.”

“We are doing everything we can to minimize harm to civilians, assist in evacuation, and facilitate the transfer of medical supplies and food,” the IDF wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Our war is not with the people of Gaza.”

It was unknown whether the process to transfer incubators was underway and there was no confirmation of Israel’s offer from health officials or medical staff in the Gaza Strip. It was also unclear how the incubators would be powered at Gaza’s hospitals with little to no electricity and fuel.

The announcement came amid worldwide calls to save dozens of premature newborn babies at Gaza’s second-largest hospital.

Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City had been struggling to run with limited fuel for days as doctors warn of its imminent collapse. On Friday, fighting in the area intensified and a strike hit the courtyard outside the hospital.

Three of the 39 babies that were being cared for in Al-Shifa’s neonatal unit have died since their incubators stopped working on Saturday, according to the hospital’s head of plastic surgery, Dr. Ahmed Mokhallalati. The hospital staff has been trying their best to look after them, swaddling them and using what power is left to heat the room they are in.

In recent days, several hospitals across Gaza said they have been under attack as heavy fighting occurs between Israeli troops and the militant group that rules the enclave, Hamas. The IDF alleges that Hamas has placed its command centers in tunnels under hospitals in Gaza and is deliberately sheltering behind Palestinian civilians — claims which the group denies.

Nov 14, 5:11 AM EST
IDF announces two evacuation corridors open in Gaza on Tuesday

The Israel Defense Forces announced Tuesday the temporary opening of evacuation corridors in the war-torn Gaza Strip to allow more people in the north of the Hamas-run enclave to move south.

A “safe passage” will be open “for humanitarian purposes” via the Salah al-Din highway toward the area south of Wadi Gaza on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time, according to the IDF.

The IDF said it will also temporarily suspend military activities “for humanitarian purposes” in the neighborhoods of Al-Daraj and Al-Tuffah on Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time.

“Please, for your safety, join the hundreds of thousands of residents who have moved south in recent days,” the IDF said in a statement. “We encourage you to seize the time and move south!”

The IDF also urged Gaza residents to “not surrender to Hamas,” alleging that the militant group “has lost control over the northern Gaza Strip area and is trying to do everything it can to prevent you from moving south and protect yourselves.”

Nov 13, 8:36 PM EST
Israel claims to have evidence of Hamas headquarters at hospital

Israeli military officials brought several journalists, including ABC’s Matt Gutman, into the Al-Rantisi Hospital inside Gaza, which had been hit with artillery.

The hospital, Gaza’s sole children’s hospital, was allegedly a Hamas command center, Israel’s chief military spokesperson Daniel Hagari, who led the tour, claimed.

The hospital was surrounded by Israeli tanks from Thursday into Friday, the director of Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital said on Friday.

Inside the basement of the hospital, which officials said has been evacuated, were abandoned AK-47s, grenades and what Hagari said were suicide vests. In another room of the basement was a chair where Hagari claims a hostage was kept.

The spokesperson said the Israeli military was set to detonate the grenades and vests they claim they found inside and a forensic team was going to probe the hospital for more evidence.

The tour came after the hospital’s resources deteriorated due to nearby attacks, according to UNICEF.

The hospital’s operations almost ceased between Thursday and Friday, according to UNICEF.

By Friday, Al-Rantisi Hospital had only a small generator powering the intensive care and neonatal intensive care units, UNICEF said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.