Tel Aviv — The Hamas-run Gaza Strip’s health ministry says 13,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since Israel launched its military campaign against Hamas in response to the group’s bloody attacks. October 7 terrorist attack. Reports emerged Monday morning that Israeli forces were surrounding a hospital in the decimated northern half of the enclave amid airstrikes in the area, with the Health Ministry saying nearly 3,000 people had taken refuge in inside the establishment.

The Health Ministry said an Israeli shell hit the second floor of the hospital, killing at least 12 people, and a medical worker inside the facility, Marwan Abdallah, told the agency French press AFP in a telephone interview – with gunshots audible in the background – that Israeli tanks had approached within 200 meters of the hospital and that military snipers were visible at top of neighboring buildings.

World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on social media that the WHO was “appalled” by reports of the deadly attack on the Indonesian hospital, adding: “Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, especially the ‘inside a hospital’.

A spokesperson for the Hamas-run health ministry told AFP that around 600 patients, 200 health workers and some 2,000 civilians displaced from their homes in the area had taken refuge inside the establishment.

The Israeli military did not immediately confirm its operations around the Indonesian hospital, but although the situation there remains unclear, there is finally hope for dozens of premature babies who were among thousands of civilians trapped inside Al-Shifa Hospital in the central Gaza City. part of the territory.

The little babies, along with thousands of others, were evacuated from Al-Shifa from Saturdayseveral days after Israeli forces moved into the sprawling hospital compound to secure it and search for evidence of the Hamas command center they have long sought. it is said to have been hidden under the installation.

Crowded into small battery-powered incubators, newborns and premature babies were transported from Gaza City to the southern part of the Strip on Sunday, and Egyptian media reported Monday that 29 of them had been transported via the Rafah border post to Egypt for treatment. The World Health Organization told Reuters news agency that 28 babies had been transferred to Egypt, but three of them remained in a maternity ward in southern Gaza where they were being treated for “serious infections.” “.

Dr Mohammad Zaqout, a doctor in Al-Shifa, said eight of the infants were discharged from the hospital – which the World Health Organization described as a “death zone” after weeks caught in the middle of the war between Israel and Hamas – have not been treated. survive the desperate conditions at the facility before they can be transferred.

He said the infants suffered symptoms including gastritis and dehydration accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, sepsis due to lack of medication and hypothermia as fuel shortages left the hospital’s incubators unable to operate days before. that transfers are facilitated.

Thousands of people have fled Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt since it was opened to evacuated civilians. The Egyptian government said on Monday that a total of 6,713 foreigners and dual nationals and 929 Egyptians had entered Egypt.

Ayman Walash, director of the Egyptian Foreign Press Center, said a total of 1,284 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, including more than 2,100 tons of medicines and other medical supplies, 238 tons of fuel, 4,668 tons of food, 4,260 tons of water and more. More than 1,000 tonnes of other relief materials have passed through the Rafah crossing since it opened on October 21.

Among those who fled Gaza to Egypt were “between 50 and 100” U.S. nationals and their dependents, “depending on the day,” according to Michael Triozzi, a U.S. consular official at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

“This continues to be a very complicated and serious situation for everyone involved,” Triozzi told CBS News from the Egyptian side of the border, adding that the U.S. government was “deeply grateful to our partners in the Egyptian government and the government Israeli for everything.” they did it to help us move American citizens across the border. »

He added that U.S. nationals leaving Gaza were being transported by bus to Cairo, where the U.S. consular team was “ready to receive them and assist them in any other conflict or with any services they may require.”

Israel offers more evidence of alleged Hamas base in Al-Shifa

The US government-backed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has long claimed that Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, was used as a command center by Hamas – a claim the group has denied despite history of positioning of weapons and fighters. in the middle of civil infrastructures.

On Sunday, the Israeli military released more videos as evidence of the alleged Al-Shifa base, including footage of a “fortified tunnel” that it said extended 180 feet beneath the compound at a depth of more than 9 feet.

The military also released a new video clip from a security camera in Al-Shifa that it said shows Hamas militants forcing two hostages into the hospital on October 7. The whereabouts of these two individuals were still unknown Monday.

Israeli forces showed several journalists last week, including a CBS News crewweapons were reportedly found inside the hospital and an image of what she said was the entrance to a Hamas tunnel on the grounds.

The Israeli army also shared new details on Monday about the death of one of its own: Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old soldier, found dead on Friday near Al-Shifa after being taken hostage by Hamas during its October 7 terrorist attack in southern Israel. .

“Hamas assassinated Noa inside Shifa Hospital,” IDF chief spokesman Daniel Hagari said this weekend.

Forty-five days after Hamas – long designated a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and most of Europe – sparked Israel’s scathing military response by killing some 1,200 people in its surprise attack , thousands of Palestinians, including wounded and seriously ill patients, were still alive. trying to flee to southern Gaza on Monday by any means possible.

Paghad Abu Assy, 11, was among those who made the trip. She said half of her friends had been killed, but she still dreamed of a future where “the war will end, and I can become a doctor and finish my studies.”

Lilia Luciano

Lilia Luciano is an award-winning journalist and CBS News correspondent based in Los Angeles.

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