Israeli occupation troops carried out building-by-building searches at Gaza’s main hospital, as a new communications blackout in the territory on Friday compounded fears for Palestinian civilians trapped inside the facility.
Al-Shifa hospital has become a focal point for Israeli operations in northern Gaza since Israeli occupation forces raided the complex on Wednesday, hunting for a command centre they say militant group Hamas operates there.
Hamas and hospital managers deny that charge, and there has been international concern about several thousand people — including wounded patients and premature babies — believed to be trapped inside.
Israel’s air bombardment and ground operation has martyred 11,500 people, including thousands of children.
The UN warned that the blackout would compound the misery of civilians, complicating efforts to distribute aid and possibly triggering looting of its supplies.
“When you have a blackout and you cannot communicate with anyone anymore… that triggers and fuels even more the anxiety and the panic,” said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.