The IDF allowed the evacuation of Gazans at Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip on Saturday following a request by the director, denying reports by Qatari-owned Al Jazeera that it had ordered the full evacuation of the hospital within an hour.
“At no point did the IDF ask to evacuate patients or medical teams,” the Israeli military said, stressing the evacuation is being carried out under the hospital director’s request. “[The IDF] has further offered to cooperate with any request for a medical evacuation.”
Medical teams and patients who cannot or refuse to evacuate will remain in the hospital, it added. A doctor who spoke to Al Jazeera said it was “impossible” to evacuate patients at that time.
Another doctor at the hospital said on Friday that food and water were running out and that supplies provided by the Israeli military were “very, very minimal.”
Doctor Ahmed El Mokhallalati told Reuters by telephone that Israeli forces were pressing on with searches of the hospital complex. He also said no babies at the hospital had died since Israeli troops entered it.
The IDF responded to the director of Al-Shifa’s request, allowing time for evacuations for those sheltering in the hospital through a secure humanitarian crossing in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF also emphasized that whenever a request is made to coordinate a evacuation of patients and medical teams, they will work to facilitate it and transfer the patients to other hospitals. Medical teams will remain in the Al-Shifa for the benefit of patients who are unwilling or unable to evacuate.
The IDF continued to provide food, water and humanitarian aid to the hospital.
Netanyahu: Strong indications hostages were held in Shifa hospital
There were “strong indications hostages were held in Shifa hospital in Gaza,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News on Thursday as he defended the IDF’s highly-criticized military operation in the medical facility on the 41st day of the war in Gaza.
The possibility of finding the hostages, “was one of the reasons we entered Shifa hospital,” Netanyahu said. “But if they were, they were taken out.”
Hamas has a command center underneath the hospital, an assertion the Palestinian terrorist group denies.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.