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War on Gaza: Israeli forces pummel Khan Younis, killing 20 outside al-Amal hospital

Graphic video shows lifeless bodies in pools of blood, as Israel steps up relentless bombardment of southern Gaza city
A smoke plume erupts over Khan Yunis from Rafah in the southern Gaza strip during Israeli bombardment on 27 December 2023 (AFP)
Smoke rises over Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on 27 December 2023 (AFP)
By Walaa Sabah and MEE correspondent in Gaza, occupied Palestine and Rayhan Uddin in London

Israeli shelling near a hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, has killed at least 20 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

The attack took place on Wednesday afternoon in front of al-Amal Hospital. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society published a graphic video of their teams scrambling to rescue civilians after the bombardment. 

The harrowing footage shows chaotic scenes as panicked Palestinians see their loved ones lying lifeless in pools of blood, while paramedics and others rush to help the wounded. 

Israel's military stepped up its ongoing attacks on Khan Younis on Wednesday, with drone strikes reported in the Abasan district in the east of the city, and the Ma'an district in the centre, according to Al Jazeera. 

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Ashraf al-Qudra, the Palestinian health ministry's spokesman, said that attacks were increasing around Khan Younis's al-Nasser hospital. 

"We call on UN institutions to take effective and urgent steps to ensure the protection of the Nasser Medical Complex, its staff, the wounded and sick, and the thousands of displaced people there," he said in a statement posted on Telegram on Wednesday. 

Qudra warned that the hospital faced a similar fate to al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical complex which is no longer functional after weeks of Israeli shelling in the vicinity. 

A witness described to Middle East Eye the scenes in Khan Younis on Tuesday evening, as Israel temporarily severed all internet and communications during its heavy bombing campaign.

"At around 6pm, we received a phone alert instructing residents in blocks 64, 65, 87 and 112 to evacuate their homes and head towards Tal al-Sultan in Rafah. Tal al-Sultan is a very small neighbourhood that is already dense with thousands of people who fled from Gaza City and the north. How are we expected to flee there?" recounted Ahmed in Khan Younis.

"I am in block 107, and the sounds of the bombardments are terrifying. My three-year-old child just woke up crying, asking if we will be killed tonight... The explosions are deafening and have escalated significantly.

"Israel has targeted all communication channels. I can communicate with you because I have an E-sim, but the people around me have no connection to the world or even to their families inside the Gaza Strip."

'I can't explain how bad the scenes are'

Elsewhere in the besieged enclave, five Palestinians were killed in one Israeli air strike in central Gaza's al-Maghazi district, medics said, while Palestinian health officials said the bodies of seven Palestinians killed overnight arrived at Al Shifa Hospital.

An MEE correspondent on the ground said on Wednesday the situation in the Tal al-Hawa area of southern Gaza was "very very terrifying" due to the heavy Israeli bombing.

“There is widespread destruction in Tal al-Hawa, in front of al-Quds Hospital and the Red Crescent Hospital,” he said, adding that "entire buildings" had been levelled to the ground by Israeli shelling.

“The Red Crescent building and al-Quds Hospital have been burned. The Israeli army is searching everything inside medical facilities, including in doctors’ closets, their clothes, and everything inside buildings,” he added.

According to the correspondent, who does not want to be named for security reasons, decomposed bodies of Palestinians were being left out in the streets. Emergency services have not been able to reach the area due to heavy Israeli bombing.

dead body covered cardboard
A dead body is covered with a piece of cardboard in Gaza's tal al-Hawa following heavy Israeli air strikes (MEE)

"I can’t explain how bad the scenes are here," he said, adding that Israeli forces were "stealing everything" inside Palestinian homes after forcibly displacing families, including "even children's toys". 

Israeli army vehicles had also run over the corpses on the ground, disfiguring them and tearing them apart.

“Some of the corpses have nothing left to them after being violated, you can just about make out the head or some of their organs or body parts,” he said. 

“People are trying to cover the dead bodies with scrap pieces of carton or cardboard… the smell in the air is not pleasant at all.”

Israeli forces killed at least 195 Palestinians and wounded 325 in the space of 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday. 

That brought the total death toll in Gaza since 7 October to 21,110, while 55,243 have been wounded over that period. 

In the occupied West Bank, six Palestinians, including one child, were killed and several others wounded amid an Israeli operation in Nur Shams refugee camp on Wednesday morning. 

More than 300 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since war broke out in Gaza on 7 October, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

In southern Lebanon, a Lebanese-Australian man, his wife and his brother have been killed by an Israeli air strike on a home in the town of Bint Jbeil.

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