The destruction of Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital

The Israeli military has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital after a two-week raid, leaving behind scenes of devastation.

Hundreds of people returned to al-Shifa Hospital and the surrounding area after the withdrawal early on Monday. They reported finding bodies strewn inside and outside the facility.

Mohammed Mahdi, who was among those who returned, described a scene of “total destruction”. He said several buildings had been burned down and that he had counted six bodies in the area, including two in the hospital courtyard.

Another resident, Yahia Abu Auf, said army bulldozers had ploughed over a makeshift cemetery inside the hospital compound, where there were still patients, medical workers and displaced people sheltering.

Several patients have been taken to the nearby Ahli Arab Hospital, he added.

“The situation is indescribable,” he said. “The occupation destroyed all sense of life here.”

Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes and has raided several medical facilities. Critics accuse the Israeli army of recklessly endangering civilians and of decimating a health sector already overwhelmed with war wounded.

The military had previously raided al-Shifa Hospital in November.

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