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Israel-Palestine war: Israeli police storm hospital in East Jerusalem, detaining Gaza visitors

Israeli police said they arrested 11 Palestinians from Gaza and one from the West Bank 'hiding' in al-Makassed hospital
Israeli security forces deploy at the site of a reported attack in east Jerusalem on 30 October 2023 (AFP)
Israeli security forces at the site of a reported attack in East Jerusalem on 30 October 2023 (AFP)
By Anonymous in Jerusalem

Israeli police stormed a hospital in East Jerusalem and arrested a number of patients from Gaza on Thursday, according to a police statement and Palestinian media.

The Ma'an news agency said a large number of officers raided al-Makassed Hospital after besieging it and putting officers on the roof. 

Israeli police said they arrested 11 Gazans and one Palestinian from the West Bank who were "hiding" in the hospital.

The detainees were transferred to the Jerusalem District Police for questioning.

A source told MEE those arrested were Palestinians from Gaza who came to Jerusalem on Israeli-issued permits to accompany patients from the besieged enclave.

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Siraj Abu Arafa, a lawyer at the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center, said 12 people were arrested, including "women, young men and a boy".

One of the patients told MEE that her father, a visitor, was detained after Israeli soldiers entered the hospital. He was staying at a caravan for visitors.

"They were looking for Gazans. They were detaining anyone from Gaza. I was scared," she said.

"How could they storm a hospital, and detain visitors? I can't believe it.

"As a patient, I am now alone, without my father or a family member."

Samira Oweina, a member of the hospital staff, told MEE that she saw soldiers detaining about 10 elderly women and children from the emergency department while on visits.

Haaretz reported that one of the detainees was the sister of a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

Police also summoned the deputy director of the hospital for questioning.

Israel deployed its forces into Gaza late last week following weeks of air, land and sea strikes on the besieged territory in retaliation for a Hamas attack on 7 October, in which around 1,400 Israelis were killed and at least 220 were taken captive.

makassed hospital jerusalem
Al-Makassed Hospital entrance in East Jerusalem, 2 November 2023 (MEE)

A least 9,000 Palestinians have since been killed and over 22,200 wounded in Gaza, while hundreds of people are still missing, the vast majority believed to be dead and buried under the rubble.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's war on Hamas would continue "until victory" despite "painful losses".

Many of those who travelled from Gaza to Israel prior to the outbreak of the conflict on 7 October have found themselves stranded, many without a permit.

A number of patients at al-Makassed hospital are among those unable to return home.

Israa Al-Sheni, from the city of Khan Younis, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that she had been trapped following the outbreak of war.

“I have been receiving treatment at al-Makassed Hospital for a month and a week, and during the treatment I underwent an operation," she said.

"During that time, the war broke out, and we were not able to return."

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