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Israeli Strikes Hit Gaza Hospitals Amidst Escalating Conflict With Hamas

The conflict has resulted in more than 10,800 Palestinian deaths, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, while over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, primarily during the initial Hamas attack.

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Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City
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Israeli strikes targeted areas near several hospitals in Gaza City early Friday as the military intensified its presence in densely populated urban neighborhoods in the ongoing battle with Hamas militants. The strikes have prompted a growing number of civilians to flee towards the southern part of the besieged territory, as reported by AP. 

Israel alleges that Hamas fighters are using hospitals as hiding places, specifically pointing to the Shifa Hospital complex as the main command center for the militant group. However, Hamas and hospital staff deny these accusations, asserting that Israel is creating a pretext for further attacks.

The largest hospital in Gaza, Shifa, has seen a surge in people seeking refuge, believing it to be safer than their homes or UN shelters in the north, which have been repeatedly targeted. Israeli troops are reportedly approximately 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the hospital.

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Early Friday, Israel targeted the Shifa courtyard and the obstetrics department, according to the head of the Hamas-run media office in Gaza, Salama Maarouf. Strikes were also reported near two other hospitals. The Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza later confirmed casualties at Shifa Hospital.

The conflict has resulted in more than 10,800 Palestinian deaths, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, while over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, primarily during the initial Hamas attack. The Israeli military reported killing 19 Hamas militants overnight and destroying a shipping container containing around 20 rocket launchers.

As the humanitarian crisis deepens, more than 120,000 civilians have fled from the combat zone in northern Gaza to the south since the start of the week. However, concerns persist as airstrikes continue in the southern part of the territory.

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The four-hour humanitarian pause agreed upon by Israel has been criticized as "cynical and cruel" by U.N. expert Francesca Albanese. The pause aims to allow civilians to flee the conflict zone. The conditions for those seeking shelter at Shifa Hospital have become dire, with overcrowded rooms, scarce water, and limited food supplies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified that Israel is not seeking to occupy or govern Gaza but continues the fight against Hamas. The ongoing conflict has forced a significant displacement of Gaza's population, with more than two-thirds fleeing their homes since the war began.

Aid deliveries into Gaza from Egypt remain insufficient, with only 100 trucks per day, well below the necessary level, according to U.S. humanitarian envoy David Satterfield. Meanwhile, Palestinian militants continue to launch rockets into Israel, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Israelis from areas near Gaza and along the northern border with Lebanon.

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