Israel’s president Isaac Herzog has refuted claims that Israel is striking Gaza’s largest hospital. Despite reports of electricity shortages at Al-Shifa, where thousands of Palestinians seek shelter, Herzog insisted that “everything is operating” at the hospital. He revealed that a Hamas fighter in northern Gaza allegedly had a translated copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on his body, emphasizing that the discovery in a children’s room converted into a Hamas military base reflects some in Hamas adopting Hitler’s anti-Jewish ideology.
Amid ongoing fighting, the World Health Organization (WHO) temporarily lost contact with Al-Shifa staff, and patients and personnel faced dire conditions. Although communication has been restored, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Chief of the WHO, emphasized the urgent need for a ceasefire, pointing out that the hospital struggled for three days without electricity and water.
Contrary to claims by Gaza doctors and the Hamas-run health ministry about the lack of fuel affecting patient care, Israel’s president Isaac Herzog dismissed these assertions, stating that there is electricity and operational capacity at Al-Shifa. Israel alleges that Hamas has a base beneath the hospital, a claim denied by the militant group.
Surgeon Marwan Abu Saada
Surgeon Marwan Abu Saada reported critical shortages of water, food, and electricity at Al-Shifa, with sounds of gunfire and bombardments echoing through the hospital. Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced Israel’s willingness to assist in evacuating babies from Al-Shifa, responding to a request from the hospital administration. Two premature babies had reportedly died by Saturday, according to a doctors group.
Responding to international calls for a ceasefire, including those from French President Macron, Herzog asserted Israel’s right to self-defense following the October 7 attacks. While acknowledging civilian casualties in Gaza, he attributed many tragedies to Hamas, emphasizing Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law. Israel claimed to notify civilians through phone calls and text messages, urging them to evacuate from northern Gaza to the south.
Furthermore, Herzog stated, “We grant them humanitarian pauses to move south.” Despite the conflict’s toll, with over 11,000 casualties and more than 1.5 million displaced, according to the Hamas-run health ministry and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), Israel maintains its offensive stance. A deadly Hamas attack on October 7 triggered the initial response, resulting in 1,200 lives lost and over 200 individuals held hostage in southern Israel. Intense fighting has unfolded in the northern part of the 41km-long and 10km-wide enclave, with explosions also impacting southern cities such as Rafah and Khan Younis.