Israeli soldiers take positions near the Gaza Border, as seen from Sderot, southern Israel, 15 November 2023. EFE/EPA/ATEF SAFADI

US did not give Israel ‘OK’ to attack Al Shifa hospital in Gaza

San Francisco, USA, Nov 15 (EFE).- The United States said it is not involved in the planning or execution of procedures by the Israel Defence Forces and did not give “okay ” to attack the Al Shifa hospital, said Wednesday John Kirby, spokesman for the White House Security Council.

The rebuttal comes a day after the Islamist group Hamas accused the US of giving a “green light” to the raid by adopting “the false (Israeli) narrative that the resistance is using the Al Shifa medical complex for military purposes,” adding that it holds Israel and President Biden “fully responsible” for the “raid on the Al Shifa medical complex,” the group said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the White House announced that its intelligence services had found that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were using some Gaza hospitals, including Al Shifa, and the tunnels underneath them for military operations and to hide hostages and weapons.

“We did not give an okay to their military operations around the hospital,” Kirby said to the press from San Francisco, where US President Joe Biden is meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

“These are Israeli military operations that they plan, and they execute on in accordance with their own established procedures. The United States is not is not involved in those procedures,” the spokesman added.

Kirby said that because Hamas uses hospitals as shields for its operations it is “understandable” that the IDF would want to “remove Hamas’ ability to use cover like that to sustain themselves,” but he said that this means that the IDF has an “added burden” of responsibility when conducting these raids “because there are real patients and real doctors and real nurses that have nothing to do with this fight that need to be protected as much as possible.”

“We believe hospitals should be protected,” Kirby asserted.

Al Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Strip, located in Gaza City, ran out of electricity, drinking water and food several days ago and is home to some 3,000 people, including displaced persons, medical staff and patients, including more than 30 premature babies whose lives are in danger.

The Gaza government’s press office, under the de facto control of Hamas since 2007, claims that the Israeli army entered Al Shifa with tanks, explosives, drones and heavily armed soldiers and “fired inside”, which is a “war crime.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, in a phone call on Wednesday, reminding him of the need to “protect” civilians in Israel’s operations in Gaza.

“The Secretary reiterated his steadfast support for Israel’s defense and emphasized the need to protect civilians, increase humanitarian aid delivery, and ensure military operations comply with international humanitarian law,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7 after a massive assault by the Islamist group that included the firing of thousands of rockets and the infiltration of some 3,000 militiamen into Israeli territory, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping another 240, according to number revised this week by the Israeli government.

Since then, Israeli air, naval and ground forces have relentlessly attacked the Gaza Strip, leaving more than 11,300 dead, 29,200 wounded and 3,600 missing under the rubble, according to Hamas. EFE