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Israel-Hamas war: IDF raid on Gaza hospital continues

Published February 16, 2024last updated February 16, 2024

Doctors Without Borders said the situation is catastrophic at the Nasser Hospital. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden warned Israel against an operation in Rafah without a plan to protect civilians.

People look at damage at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza
The Israeli military operation at Nasser Hospital has drawn alarm from health officialsImage: Mohammed Salem/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Israel's army said it continued targeting Hamas militants at the Nasser Hospital in Gaza for a second day on Friday. The World Health Organization said critically ill patients inside the hospital urgently need supplies.

Earlier, the White House said US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that an Israeli operation in Rafah, southern Gaza, should not go on without a "credible" plan to ensure the safety of civilians.

This live blog is now closed. For more coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, please click here. 

Skip next section World Court rejects request for more Gaza measures
February 16, 2024

World Court rejects request for more Gaza measures

The UN's top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has rejected a South African request to issue additional emergency measures ahead of a planned Israeli operation in Rafah.

In January, the ICJ ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, in a case brought by South Africa. It also instructed Israel to take action to protect Palestinian civilians from further harm and allow humanitarian aid to enter the territory.

On Tuesday, South Africa filed an additional petition, asking for new measures related to Israel's preparation of an assault on Rafah.

Israel had asked the ICJ to dismiss South Africa's "urgent request" calling it an "unjustifiable" appeal.

On Friday, the ICJ acknowledged that the operation "'would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences," but they did not require "the indication of additional provisional measures."

The ruling said that Israel was still "bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said order."

Skip next section Israeli operations continue at Nasser Hospital as health officials warn of dire situation
February 16, 2024

Israeli operations continue at Nasser Hospital as health officials warn of dire situation

Health authorities have warned of an urgent and catastrophic situation at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis as Israeli troops raided the facility for a second day on Friday.

"IDF troops continue to operate against Hamas in the Nasser Hospital," the Israel Defense Forces said on social media.

"Our troops apprehended 20+ terrorists who participated in the October 7 massacre and located mortar shells, grenades and additional weapons."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was trying to get access to the hospital amid the Israeli operations.

"There are still critically injured and sick patients that are inside the hospital," said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.

"There is an urgent need to deliver fuel to ensure the continuation of the provision of life-saving services... We are trying to get access because people who are still in Nasser medical complex need assistance."

Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Secretary-General Christopher Lockyear said, "The situation was chaotic, catastrophic."

In a joint interview with news agencies AFP and Reuters on Friday, Lockyear said MSF staff members were forced to flee to Rafah and that one of them was still unaccounted for. 

"We don't know what has happened to them... We remain deeply concerned about their wellbeing," he added.

Israel maintains that it has abided by the laws of war during its military offensives against Hamas, which several countries classify as a terrorist organization.

"The IDF will continue to uphold international law while targeting Hamas, known for using hospitals and civilian infrastructure for their operations," the Israeli army said on social media.

Skip next section Israel has 'no intention of evacuating Palestinians to Egypt' — Yoav Gallant
February 16, 2024

Israel has 'no intention of evacuating Palestinians to Egypt' — Yoav Gallant

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Friday said Israel was not planning on moving Palestinians from Gaza, amid concern people will be forced to leave the Palestinian territory.

"The State of Israel has no intention of evacuating Palestinian civilians to Egypt. We respect and value our peace agreement with Egypt, which is a cornerstone of stability in the region as well as an important partner," said Gallant during a briefing, which DW attended. 

The comments come amid reports that Egypt was creating a buffer zone near its border with Gaza to accommodate up to 100,000 people as Israel prepares an operation to target Hamas militants in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Egypt building Gaza buffer zone as Rafah offensive looms

"We are thoroughly planning future operations in Rafah, which is a significant Hamas stronghold," Gallant said.

According to several UN agencies, some 1.5 million are sheltering in and around the city, having fled areas in northern Gaza, since Israel launched operations to root out Hamas. 

Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz suggested that once Gaza's second-largest city of Khan Younis had been cleared of Hamas fighters, Palestinians could return there or to the west of the enclave.

Skip next section Hezbollah chief says Israel will pay ‘with blood’
February 16, 2024

Hezbollah chief says Israel will pay ‘with blood’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday vowed that Israel would pay "with blood" in response to 10 Lebanese civilians killed in attacks this week.

On Wednesday, Israel said a Hezbollah commander was killed in a targeted strike in southern Lebanon. 

Several civilians were reported to have been killed in the strike.

"The enemy will pay with blood" for every woman and child killed by cross-border fire in Lebanon, Nasrallah said in a televised address and added that his Iran-backed movement has "precision-guided missiles that can reach... Eilat," a resort town on Israel's Red Sea coast.

Hezbollah is an Iran-backed Shiite political party and militant group in Lebanon and is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Germany and several Sunni Arab countries, while the EU lists its armed wing as a terrorist group.

Hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel have increased since the October 7 terror attacks launched by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, with shelling in the border region forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. 

Skip next section Russia invites Palestinian groups, including Hamas, to Moscow
February 16, 2024

Russia invites Palestinian groups, including Hamas, to Moscow

The Russian government has invited around a dozen Palestinian groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, to talks in Moscow on February 29, according to state-run news agency TASS.

The agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying: "We invited all Palestinian representatives — all political forces that have their positions in different countries, including Syria, Lebanon and other countries in the region."

Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad are listed as terrorist organizations by the US, the EU and several other governments.

Fatah is a Palestinian nationalist political party that was strongly involved in the Palestinian revolutionary struggle and is a rival of Hamas.

"We work on the assumption that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and will continue to be so," Bogdanov was quoted as saying.

"It is recognized by the international community and ourselves," he said, adding that groups based in Syria, Lebanon and other countries would also be present. 

Skip next section Gaza Health Ministry: 5 dead following raid on Nasser Hospital
February 16, 2024

Gaza Health Ministry: 5 dead following raid on Nasser Hospital

Five patients have died due to a lack of oxygen in southern Gaza's main hospital, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Friday.

"A fifth patient at Nasser Hospital was martyred as a result of the stopping of generators that caused a cut in oxygen supply," AFP news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

On Thursday, the ministry said that hundreds of people had been inside the hospital complex, including patients and medical staff.

AFP reported that Israel's military said it was looking into the reported fatalities.

The hospital was stormed by Israeli forces on Thursday with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) saying it had "credible intelligence" that hostages were being held at the medical facility and that the remains of hostages may still be inside.

The IDF said it would continue to "operate against Hamas in the Nasser Hospital" and that forces had arrested over 20 militants and located mortar shells, grenades and additional weapons.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and several other governments. 

Skip next section WHO chief Tedros says situation in Gaza 'hellish'
February 16, 2024

WHO chief Tedros says situation in Gaza 'hellish'

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the health situation in Gaza is already "beyond words" and that a further assault on Rafah would seriously worsen the situation.

Tedros was speaking to US broadcaster CNN.

"The situation is hellish," he said, adding that the 28,000 deaths alone, reported by the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, "should be enough to stop the war because those who are dying are the wrong people." 

The UN health agency chief has reiterated calls for release of hostages held by militant Islamist group Hamas, safe access for humanitarian personnel and supplies and a cease-fire in Gaza.

Earlier this week, Tedros said that the humanitarian aid being delivered in Gaza was "a drop in the ocean of need, which continues to grow every day." 

WHO official discusses damage to Khan Younis UN shelter

Skip next section Israeli forces report arrests made after raid on main Gaza hospital
February 16, 2024

Israeli forces report arrests made after raid on main Gaza hospital

Israeli forces stormed the main hospital in southern Gaza on Thursday, with the military saying that it had "credible intelligence" that Hamas militants had held hostages at Nasser hospital and that the hostages' remains might still be inside.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the raid was "precise and limited" and carried out after it ordered thousands of displaced people who had taken shelter there to leave the hospital in Khan Younis.

"IDF troops apprehended a number of suspects in the Nasser Hospital," said Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari. He said the operational goal was to reach Hamas terrorist operatives.

International aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, reported a "chaotic situation" at the hospital and said its staff had to flee the hospital, leaving patients behind.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza reported that fuel for generators would soon run out at the hospital, endangering lives.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Germany, Israel, the US and others.

Skip next section Netanyahu rejects two-state solution that would 'reward terrorism'
February 16, 2024

Netanyahu rejects two-state solution that would 'reward terrorism'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to "oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," because such recognition after the October 7 "massacre" would reward unprecedented terrorism and prevent peace in the future. 

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Netanyahu further responded to recent talks of "imposing a Palestinian state on Israel."

"Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians," the post read. "Such an arrangement will be reached only through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions." 

An hour later, he posted that the war would continue with "all its might" until there was agreement on his terms of extraditing all those complicit in the October 7 terror attacks.

Skip next section US Vice President Kamala Harris to meet Israel's Herzog at MSC
February 16, 2024

US Vice President Kamala Harris to meet Israel's Herzog at MSC

US Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, the White House said.

Harris has arrived in the Bavarian capital and is expected to use her speech Friday at the security conference to reassure European allies that international partnerships were important to American security, the New York Times reported.

Skip next section Biden tells Netanyahu to protect Rafah civilians
February 16, 2024

Biden tells Netanyahu to protect Rafah civilians

US President Joe Biden has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the planned military action in Gaza's southern city of Rafah without a feasible plan to protect citizens.

The two leaders spoke on the phone on Thursday for the second time this week.

"The President... reiterated his view that a military operation should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the civilians in Rafah," a readout of the call from the White House said.

Offensive on Rafah a 'humanitarian disaster in the making': Annalena Baerbock

Israel has steadily expanded ground operations in Gaza toward the south, leaving Rafah as one of the last refuges for around half of the enclave's 2.3 million residents. Several UN agencies estimate that up to 1.5 million people are in the city.

Many refugees live in makeshift camps and UN shelters.

The war began following the October 7 terror attacks on Israel, in which Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people and took around 250 hostage.

The US and Israel, as well as Germany and the EU among others, list Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Over 120 hostages are reportedly still being held in Gaza.

During the phone call with Netanyahu, Biden pledged to continue work around the clock to help free the hostages who have now spent 132 days in captivity.


US warns Israel over planned ground offensive in Rafah

Netanyahu has previously promised “powerful” action in Rafah, which he called Hamas' "last bastion." Earlier this month, Biden said Israel's military response in the Gaza Strip had been "over the top."

mk,rm/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)