Israel-Hamas war: sniper drones, tanks... IDF leads unprecedented battles

The IDF claimed it had evidence that its raid on Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital was justified.

Israel-Hamas war: sniper drones, tanks... IDF leads unprecedented battles

The IDF claimed it had evidence that its raid on Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital was justified. Gazans have reported being injured by killer drones.

The situation is critical in the city of Gaza, several NGOs report. Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said Wednesday evening (November 15) that Israel had taken the decision not to limit the number of trucks allowed into the Gaza Strip while humanitarian aid struggling to enter for more than a month and the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

In addition, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is currently "on the verge of collapse", said the UN boss for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, on November 15. Despite the shipment of fuel organized on Wednesday, "around 70% of the population of Gaza" should no longer have "access to drinking water", he warned on Twitter. If new trucks can enter without restrictions, it will take weeks or even months to hope that the humanitarian situation of Gazans will truly improve.

Hospitals targeted by bombings or prevented from functioning due to lack of fuel are also trapped in the war between Israel and Hamas. Al-Shifa hospital is not the only one shut down, in northern Gaza only one hospital out of the 24 in the region continues to welcome and care for patients, the UN reported on Thursday. November 16. More than 1.5 million Palestinians out of the 2.3 million in the enclave have been displaced and in both the north and the south, refugees lack water, food and medicine. And the aid provided by humanitarian convoys from the Rafah border post is not enough, although it enters the territory more easily.

There is also a great need for fuel to operate hospitals, telecommunications services or so that humanitarian actions can continue. Israel, which holds the siege of Gaza, prohibits the delivery of fuel, but for the first time since October 7 the Jewish state authorized the delivery of 23,000 liters of fuel intended to “operate the trucks for the distribution of humanitarian aid". A quantity "not at all sufficient", deplores the UN which also regrets the limited use of fuel when it could be used "to operate the water supply or hospitals".

The raid by the Israeli army on Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza “horrified” the UN. IDF soldiers and tanks entered the medical facility on the night of November 14-15, “into a specific area of ​​the hospital” to carry out a “precise and targeted” attack against Hamas according to the army spokesperson. Who assured that there was “no desire” to cause civilian casualties.

On Wednesday evening, the IDF insisted that its raid had borne fruit, claiming to have found "ammunition, weapons and military equipment" believed to belong to Hamas inside the Al-Shifa hospital, "evidence [that it] was used for military and terrorist purposes contrary to international law.” An announcement to which the Gaza Ministry of Health, headed by Hamas, did not fail to react. According to him, the IDF “did not find any weapons or military equipment” in the hospital. “We do not rule out that the [Israeli] army brought weapons and placed them,” said a Hamas leader echoed by Al-Jazeera.

The IDF maintains that Hamas uses the medical complex as a military base or a “logistical and operational headquarters” using civilians as a “human shield.” Statements which serve as arguments to justify his attack. Note that in the past, the misuse of medical infrastructure by the Palestinian Islamist group has already been reported by Amnesty International, notably in a 2015 document. Hamas denies all accusations by the Israeli army, denies existence of a military operations center in the hospital and accuses the Jewish state of attacking civilians.

The attack on Al-Shifa hospital, contrary to international law which requires sparing civilian and medical structures, is difficult to defend, even for Israel's allies. The United States, which also believes that Hamas is using Al-Shifa hospital as a military base, assures that it "did not give the green light to operations around Al-Shifa hospital" and that they have "always been very clear [...] on the importance of minimizing civilian casualties. These statements by the National Security Council spokesperson allow the United States to exonerate itself without really condemning the Israeli attack On the French side, Emmanuel Macron said he condemned "with the greatest firmness" the bombing of civilian infrastructure, including the hospital, during a trip to Switzerland. Earlier this Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled the rules of international law and considered that the Palestinian population "does not have to pay for the crimes of Hamas".

Furthermore, the battles fought, which have nothing conventional, also integrate weapons previously not deployed at this level of intensity. Several witnesses and corroborating sources indicate on social networks that they have seen drones flying at low altitude and capable of firing live ammunition. Doctors at Al-Ahli Arabi Hospital say “we have treated more than twenty patients hit in the torso or neck by Israeli quadcopter drones flying at low altitude.”

The UN, which is outraged by the situation in Israel, once again denounces "carnage" after the attack on Al-Shifa hospital, but others are more virulent towards Israel. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry denounces actions that [blatantly violate] international law. And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who broke off all contact with the Israeli Prime Minister, even described Israel as a "terrorist state" after the hospital raid.

The fate of the hostages held by Hamas remains at the heart of discussions. Israel has also mentioned the possible presence of hostages in the basements of Al-Shifa hospital. “We have certain elements but I cannot reveal them,” declared the French-speaking IDF spokesperson, Olivier Rafowicz, on the set of BFMTV on November 15. “Indications” of the passage of hostages through the basements of another hospital in the Gaza Strip have already been mentioned by the IDF in a video published on November 14 on X (formerly Twitter). Hamas denounced a “bad staging”.

Negotiations are still underway, but an agreement is slow to come. Tuesday evening, November 14, the families of the hostages demanded that the Israeli authorities "approve an agreement [that] evening" itself. “We know that a decision can be made this evening,” they said in a statement as they began a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to put pressure on the leaders.

The families of the hostages are urging the Israeli government “not to block an agreement” while the Jewish state has been accused of “procrastinating” in negotiations by the armed wing of Hamas. Israel "demanded the release of 100 hostages, we informed the mediation that we could release the hostages if we obtained five days of truce (that is, a ceasefire and the passage of aid to all of our people everywhere in the Gaza Strip), but the enemy is procrastinating,” Hamas Brigades spokesman Abou Obeida said. Other conditions would be mentioned in the discussions, notably the release of around ten hostages in exchange for that of “200 children and 75 women” imprisoned by Israel.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister indicated in an interview with NBC on the night of November 12 to 13 that there “could be” an agreement on the release of the hostages. The head of government, however, refused to give details, believing that "the less [he] talks about it, the more [he] increases the chances of it coming to fruition." The Israeli military estimates that 239 people have been held by Hamas since the October 7 attack.

The toll of the war taking place in Gaza is difficult to establish, as the figures provided by Hamas cannot be independently verified and therefore distinguished from propaganda. According to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health released on Wednesday November 15, 11,500 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including more than 4,710 children, since the start of the conflict on October 7. The Palestinian movement also reported more than 29,800 injured, specifying that dozens of bodies were currently littering the streets of the north of the Gaza Strip and could not, according to it, be recovered or recorded by the emergency services. being targeted by the Israeli army when they tried to approach it. Asked about this toll, the Pentagon spokesperson admitted that, regarding civilian casualties in Gaza, “it must be counted in the thousands.”

On the Israeli side, the death toll from the Hamas attack on October 7 was revised downwards on Friday, November 10, from 1,400 to 1,200 dead. According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after identification of the bodies, it appeared that many of them belonged to Hamas men. Before that, the Israeli army had also clarified that 46 soldiers had died since the attack on October 7, according to its latest report.

Among the victims, we must also count the hostages held by Hamas and whose number would be between 200 and 250. There are 239 according to the Israeli army. According to a Times of Israel estimate, around 180 hostages are being held by Hamas, 40 by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and around 20 by several local organizations.

Forty French people were killed in Israel during Hamas attacks on October 7, according to the report communicated by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne on Monday November 6. It also has eight nationals missing. “It is now confirmed that some of them are hostages of Hamas,” the government said on November 6.

Paris ensures that it is doing everything possible to save the hostages and repatriate nationals who wish to do so. The Quai d'Orsay announced on November 14 that a total of 112 French people have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip to date. “This assessment marks the end of a first phase of our evacuation operations, which enabled almost all of our compatriots wishing to leave Gaza to do so,” the ministry spokesperson said in a statement. specifying that these people could have been evacuated via the Rafah post-border which leads to Egypt.

The war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, 2023 with a surprise and massive strike launched by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on the Jewish state. Many fighters carried out incursions near the Gaza Strip's border while airstrikes were launched. These terrorist attacks gave rise to scenes of horror and massacres in several Jewish kibbutzim in Israel.

Israel ordered the response in the hours following the attack before imposing a siege on Gaza on Monday, October 9. The same day, the Israeli army announced that it had regained control of the border with the Gaza Strip. It has since launched a ground attack on Palestinian territory.