Doctor and director of Gaza's al-Shifa hospital say they have been arrested by Israel



A doctor at Al Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, told AFP that the facility’s director and several other medical personnel were arrested by Israeli forces on Thursday.

Its chief, Mohammad Abu Salmiya, is frequently quoted by international media about the situation inside al-Shifa, the main focus of Israeli ground offensives after the October 7 attack by extremists.

The Israeli military, which attacked the hospital last week, claimed that Hamas fighters used tunnel facilities beneath the facility in Gaza City to carry out the attack.

Hamas and hospital officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

“Dr. Mohammad Abu Salmiya was arrested along with several other senior doctors,” said hospital director Khalid Abu Samra.

A Hamas-led health ministry official told AFP that the hospital director, as well as a doctor and two nurses, had been detained.

In a statement, Hamas “strongly condemned” the arrest of Salmiya and his colleagues and called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations to work toward their “immediate release.”

Hundreds of patients were evacuated after the hospital was ordered to evacuate on Saturday, taking refuge south of the Palestinian territory where it is believed to be safer.

Salmiya told AFP last week that he received an evacuation order from the Israeli military after refusing an earlier order.

However, the Israeli military said the evacuation was carried out at Abu Salmiya’s “request”.

The military released an audio recording of a conversation between Salmiya and a senior Israeli military official, in which the two accused each other of being responsible for the evacuation.

Israeli authorities claim Hamas has been operating a command center in the hospital’s underground tunnels for years, a charge denied by the Islamist movement and medical officials.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers took journalists into a tunnel shaft that they say is part of a vast underground network used by Hamas.

Al Shifa Hospital is the site of an Israeli special forces expansion as part of the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-run government says more than 14,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, most of them women and children.

This came after Hamas militants poured across the border in an unprecedented attack on October 7. Israeli authorities said about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and about 240 were taken hostage.

Source: guardian.ng

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