Middle East Crisis: Israeli Forces Search Gaza Hospital; 5 Patients Die as Power Is Lost, Gazan Officials Say


Israeli special forces were combing the grounds of southern Gaza’s largest hospital on Friday and questioning suspects, the military said, as Gazan officials announced that five patients had died there after all power was lost amid an Israeli raid on the facility.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said that electric generators had cut out and that all power was lost at the hospital, the Nasser Medical Complex, but did not specify the reason. The ministry said on Facebook that the Israeli military was in control of the complex, which it raided early Thursday.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Friday that its forces had arrested 20 people who it said had participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack, and that it had detained dozens of others for questioning. It also said its troops had found mortar shells and grenades belonging to Hamas in the area of the hospital.

In announcing its raid, the Israeli military said that its action was based partly on intelligence that hostages had been held at the complex and that their bodies could have been there. Late Thursday, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, said that its forces had not found any hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack, but that their search was continuing.

On Friday, the Israeli military said medication bearing the names of Israeli hostages had been discovered during the search of Nasser hospital. The source of the drugs and how they were used was “being looked into,” the military said in a statement.

While Israel and Hamas reached a deal last month that would allow medications to be delivered to Israeli hostages, it was unclear if any had reached the captives.

Neither the Israeli claims nor those of the Gazan authorities could be independently verified. Communications with people inside the Nasser complex, in the city of Khan Younis, have been extremely spotty since Israel’s military pushed into its grounds before dawn on Thursday, smashing through the perimeter and entering the compound as explosions and gunfire rang out.

Videos showed chaotic scenes inside the hospital’s smoke-filled corridors, with parts of the ceiling collapsing and wire and beams protruding as gurneys were rushed past.

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Health care workers shared videos of a chaotic scene at Nasser Medical Center in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, as Israeli troops raided the hospital and ordered people to evacuate.CreditCredit…Obtained by Reuters

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders said on Thursday that its staff had had to evacuate but that the weakest patients had stayed behind. The Israeli military ordered all remaining workers and patients into one building, according to a voice memo from a doctor provided by the group.

Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes, and its raid on the Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza in November revealed a stone-and-concrete tunnel shaft below.

The army said in January that it had detected the launch of mortar fire from the Nasser complex toward Israeli soldiers.

Early Friday, the health ministry in Gaza said that the hospital’s power supply had cut out, endangering the lives of six adult patients in critical care and three infants in incubators who were dependent on oxygen. About 40 minutes later, the ministry said that three of the patients had died. The deaths of two others who had been dependent on oxygen were announced later.

Oxygen is pumped from a central station to patients’ beds and the pumping process requires power, Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the ministry, said in an interview.

He noted that 186 patients, 95 health professionals and 176 other people were still inside the hospital. Among the remaining patients, Mr. al-Qidra said that 18 were in particularly concerning condition.

Nasser had been the largest functioning hospital left in Gaza. Two days before the raid, the Israeli military began ordering the evacuation of the thousands of civilians who were sheltering at the complex, setting off alarm from international observers.

“Nasser is the backbone of the health system in southern Gaza,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, wrote on the social platform X earlier in the week. “It must be protected.”

Several people were also killed or wounded in Thursday morning’s incursion, including at least one doctor and one patient, according to Doctors Without Borders, Gazan health officials and a doctor at the hospital.

Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.




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