In the Israel-Hamas war, an emblematic battle for Al Shifa hospital

Fighting raged around Gaza City's main Al Shifa hospital on Friday in the 12th day of operations by the Israeli military around the hospital complex. It is the second time in six months that Israeli forces have sought to oust Hamas fighters from the area.

Fighting around the Al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip continued on Friday in what is now the Israeli army’s longest-running "targeted operation" in its war against Hamas. This is Israel’s second assault on this hospital complex, the largest and oldest in the Palestinian enclave, since the start of the war on October 7.

Around a thousand Israeli soldiers, backed by tanks, entered the Al Shifa hospital complex on March 18, in the second offensive to "cleanse" the hospital of fighters from Hamas and its ally, Islamic Jihad.

A tactical success

This second incursion should have been swift, since the Israeli army had already announced in November, during the first assault, that it had "emptied" the premises of Hamas combatants. The first operation was also supposed to have enabled Israel to block a maze of tunnels under the hospital used by Palestinian fighters.

"You have to remember that the level of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip has been vastly reduced," Jones adds.

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