An Israeli strike on an ambulance outside Gaza City’s largest hospital on Friday killed at least 15 people and injured another 60, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
Photos and videos of the aftermath, which were geolocated by The Washington Post, showed scenes of carnage and destruction, with bodies crumpled on the pavement and bystanders rushing to carry the wounded into the hospital grounds.
The strike was one of several attacks on schools and health infrastructure on Friday in Gaza, where Israeli forces have waged a large-scale offensive to destroy Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules the territory. More than 9,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war started on Oct. 7. Israel launched its campaign in response to a brutal Hamas assault on Israeli communities near the border, killing at least 1,400 people.
The Israeli military confirmed Friday that its aircraft targeted the ambulance, saying in a statement that the vehicle was “being used by a Hamas terrorist cell.”
“A number of Hamas terrorist operatives were killed in the strike,” the Israel Defense Forces said, adding that it provided more detailed information to “intelligence agencies who we work with.”
It called the area around al-Shifa Hospital, in the heart of Gaza City, a “battle zone.” Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using the hospital as a command-and-control center, a charge the group has denied.
The dead and wounded visible in the videos reviewed by The Post included women and children and no weapons or individuals wearing military clothing could be seen. One graphic video, filmed by Gazan content creator Ahmed Hijazee, showed the inside of the ambulance targeted in the strike, including a single female patient lying on a stretcher.
The ambulance appeared to have been one of six in a convoy meant to transport injured patients from al-Shifa Hospital to southern Gaza. The convoy was announced by Gaza’s Health Ministry two hours before the strike. In a statement, the ministry said that the ambulances would depart at 4 p.m. local time and would be “carrying a large number of wounded.”
It said that it had asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to accompany the ambulances to ensure safe passage, but ended up leaving without it due to an “urgent need.” [Continue reading…]