Al Shifa Raid: Israel Interrogates Gaza Journalists 

The fate of 80 people including a group of journalists, including Al Jazeera reporter, hangs in the balance as they are taken for Interrogation by the Israeli army.

Gaza Journalists Media

The life of journalists in the Gaza Strip has been a dangerous and a deadly one since Israel launched its war on the enclave after 7 October. Many were deliberately targeted, killed and injured by Israeli snipers and bombers. So far 133 Palestinian journalists were killed.

But this figure is likely to increase vastly upward with the latest Israeli onslaught on Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Israeli soldiers arrested at least 80 people, including doctors, medical staff and a group of journalists which they took away to an unknown destination.

Interrogation

On such journalist is Ismail Al Ghoul, TV satellite reporter for Al Jazeera. He was arrested together with his crew with reports that he was beaten before being taken away no doubt for interrogation. Up till then, journalists had taken Al Shifa as their place of residence mainly because of its convenience.

It was in the center of the Strip and easier to move around and cover the rapid news taken place as a result of the incessant Israeli strikes. From Al Shifa, you could travel to the north of the Gaza Strip, to the east, west, south and off course, the refugee camps sprawling in the mainly central areas of Gaza and which had taken a battering in this one-sided war.


At the time of the arrests as well, the Israeli army smashed the broadcasting equipment of the journalists stationed there. In Al Shifa, media workers could also power their broadcasting equipment in an enclave where electricity had long been cut off over the whole of Gaza by the Israelis. 

At present nobody knows the whereabouts of the journalists except to say the first thing the Israeli soldiers did was to round them up and strip them of their clothes, a practice followed by the Israelis over the past six months.

This is the fourth raid on the hospital by the Israeli army in as many months with the first being taken place last November in search of the infamous “Hamas headquarter” underneath the grounds of the hospital and which was nowhere to be found.

However, Al Shifa continued to be targeted. The latest raid on the hospital ground was a result of an Israeli intelligence tip off that Hamas operatives were in the vicinity and hence it was reported that fierce fighting ensued which resulted in one soldier killed as admitted by the Israeli army.

The raid on the hospital which was made in the early hours of Monday morning resulted in fire exchange throughout the day with Israeli soldiers with tanks surrounding the hospital and calling for military backup from the air bombing different places surrounding the once-proud medical complex but now lies in tatters thanks to Israeli bombing. According to Israeli army estimates, the military operations resulted in 20 people killed.

One woman was seen crying hysterically after seeing her house in a building flattened by an Israeli missile. She had left earlier ago to look for food to feed her children. When she came back the building was gone with probably everyone inside it under the rubble.

Because of what happened to Al Shifa previously, it no longer functioned as a medical facility. It offers the bare minimum of medical care to those who come it and doesn’t have the medicines and pharmaceuticals because of the Israel siege and the grip of Zionist army.

However, according to estimates it has about 30,000 displaced persons in the hospital grounds who came to it for shelter from Israeli bombing and missiles. Anyone who moved was shot at by an Israeli sniper who was carefully placed in one of the buildings of the hospital.

In this last raid, the soldiers quickly began ordering all of the people – excluding those it took in custody – to make their way further down south, naming these places such as Al Mawasi to the west of Khan Younis, erroneously, as safe areas. But these safe areas including the far-southern city of Rafah, are frequently bombed from the air with a possible full-scale Israeli troop invasion, soon.  

Today no one knows what the fate of those arrested will be. No one knows what will happen to Ismail Al Ghoul and the other journalists. But the Israeli army keeps saying this would only be a short operation and will leave the medical facility soon. But we are yet to see.

Marwan Asmar is an Amman-based journalist

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