Gaza war: US and UK raise pressure on Israel to protect hospitals

Israel is facing mounting international pressure to protect civilians trapped in Gaza’s hospitals, as it released what it said was evidence of a Hamas base in one medical facility.

US President Joe Biden said that Al-Shifa hospital “must be protected” from intense fighting around the complex.

His comments came as Israel released video of what it said was a Hamas hideout under the Rantisi hospital.

It accuses Hamas of using hospitals to hide military bases. Hamas denies this.

The area around Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital, has become the focus of fighting in recent days. Thousands of people are believed to be sheltering there.

“It’s my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital,” President Biden said. “The hospital must be protected.”

Doctors inside say that dozens of people, including at least three premature babies, have died due to a lack of fuel, medicine and power.

They have told the BBC that more than 100 bodies lay unburied in courtyards, and anyone trying to leave the complex – or even move between buildings – risks death due to the violence in the area.

Mr Biden’s comments were echoed by the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who stated on Monday evening that while Israel had “a right to defend itself against terror”, it must also “act within international law”.

He urged Israel to “take all measures to protect innocent civilians, including at hospitals … and allow more aid into Gaza”.

“Too many civilians are losing their lives,” he said, as he called for “urgent and substantive humanitarian pauses” to alleviate the “terrible suffering” in Gaza.

Their statements follow pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, who implored Israel to stop killing babies and women in a BBC interview.

Israel maintains that it has not fired directly on hospitals in Gaza but says tunnel networks under them are used by Hamas as “instruments of war” to plan and launch attacks on Israeli forces. The Israeli military has vowed to destroy Hamas, a designated terror group in the US, UK and EU, in the Gaza strip.


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