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Israeli forces disguised as civilian women and medical personnel kill 3 Palestinian militants in a hospital in West Bank

Israeli forces disguised as civilian women and medical personnel kill 3 Palestinian militants in a hospital in West Bank

Israeli forces disguised as civilian women and medics were able to kill 3 Palestinian militants in a raid on a hospital in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. This dramatic incident highlighted the spillover of deadly violence into the territory from the conflict in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, rejected the possibility of a military withdrawal from Gaza and the release of thousands of imprisoned militants, which are Hamas’ main demands for a ceasefire. This stance casts doubt on the current efforts to end a conflict that has destabilized the broader Middle East.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that Israeli forces fired shots inside the Ibn Sina Hospital in the West Bank town of Jenin. A hospital spokesperson indicated that there was no exchange of fire, suggesting it was a targeted killing.

Read also: Palestinians are eating grass and drinking contaminated water as famine looms in Gaza

Israel’s military claimed that the militants were using the hospital as a hideout, alleging that one of the targets had facilitated the transfer of weapons and ammunition for a planned attack inspired by Hamas’ assault on southern Israel on October 7, which triggered the Gaza conflict.

Security camera footage from the hospital showed about a dozen undercover forces, most armed, disguised in Muslim headscarves, hospital scrubs, or white doctor’s coats. One individual was seen carrying a rifle in one arm and a folded wheelchair in the other.

Ceasefire negotiations

Regarding ceasefire negotiations, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to continue fighting until achieving “absolute victory” over Hamas, rejecting any withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and the release of imprisoned militants.

Hamas’ top political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, stated that while the group is reviewing the latest ceasefire terms, their priority remains the “full withdrawal” of Israeli forces from Gaza, emphasizing the need for a long-term ceasefire.

Qatar and Egypt, in their roles as mediators with Hamas, have engaged in discussions with Israel and the United States. U.S. officials reported progress toward a ceasefire agreement, including the phased release of remaining hostages over a two-month period and increased humanitarian aid access to Gaza.

The conflict in Gaza commenced when hundreds of Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israel, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, and the abduction of around 250 individuals. Over 100 hostages were released during a weeklong ceasefire in November, exchanged for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has claimed over 26,700 lives, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory. While the ministry’s figures do not differentiate between combatants and civilians, it asserts that about two-thirds of the casualties are women and children.

A strike on a residential building in Deir al-Balah killed 11 individuals, including four children, according to Associated Press reporters.

Targeting hospitals escalates humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Hospitals in Gaza have been targeted by Israeli raids, despite their critical role in treating wounded Palestinians and providing shelter for displaced persons. Gaza’s healthcare system, already fragile before the conflict, is now on the verge of collapse due to overwhelming patient numbers and shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

Israel alleges that militants use hospitals for cover, citing the discovery of underground tunnels and weapons on hospital grounds.

In a separate incident, Israeli forces reportedly raided the Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, where approximately 7,000 displaced individuals were seeking shelter. The Israeli military stated its forces were operating in the vicinity of the hospital but not inside it.

Violence in the West Bank has escalated since October 7, with Israel conducting crackdowns on suspected militants and resulting in the deaths of over 380 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Most of these fatalities occurred during clashes with Israeli forces or violent protests.

In Tuesday’s hospital raid, Israeli forces killed Mohammed Jalamneh, 27, who was allegedly planning an imminent attack. The military stated that two other men killed, Basel and Mohammed Ghazawi, were hiding inside the hospital and involved in attacks.

Hamas claimed the three men as members, denouncing the operation as “a cowardly assassination.”

Hospital raid in Jenin raises concerns

Hospital spokesperson Tawfiq al-Shobaki confirmed there was no exchange of fire, and Basel Ghazawi had been a patient at the hospital since October, suffering from partial paralysis.

Tuesday’s raid occurred in Jenin, a longstanding center of armed resistance against Israel and a frequent target of Israeli incursions. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.

While Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, it imposed a blockade on the territory alongside Egypt when Hamas seized power in 2007. The West Bank remains under Israeli occupation, with over half a million Israelis residing in settlements.

The Palestinians seek these territories for their future independent state, although hopes for statehood have dwindled amidst ongoing conflict.

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