Middle East

Palestinians say they had to walk over “people’s body parts” while escaping Israeli raid on Al-Shifa Hospital

From CNN’s Mohammad Al Sawalhi, Abeer Salman and Sana Noor Haq

Palestinians who fled Al-Shifa Hospital say they were stripped, interrogated, blindfolded and forced to leave injured relatives behind, in a desperate attempt to escape Israel’s raid on the medical complex in Gaza City.

CNN spoke to women and children who fled south along the coastal Al-Rasheed Street on Thursday, days after the Israel Defense Forces laid siege to Gaza’s largest hospital. Eyewitnesses recounted terrifying scenes of running from the facility under the thunderous blast of Israeli snipers, gunshots and tank fire – after they say the IDF told them to leave the vicinity.

“They shot at us, and they fired missiles from the tanks … They interrogated us, they stripped us naked,” said Ibrahim Shamala, a teenage boy who fled the hospital.

Another Palestinian, Yasmin Hamdan, said she could not catch her breath as she escaped the besieged health complex. “We couldn’t stop for a second because it was horrific, there were many dead and injured people on the way, no one could reach and rescue them,” Hamdan said.

“We have no one left, not our husbands, nor our families or neighbors. We are all separated and lost, we are walking but we don’t know where we are going,” added Hamdan.

Rawand Abu Hassan, a woman who fled her home near Al-Shifa, told CNN: “We were walking on bodies of martyrs, there are people’s body parts in the streets. Where is religion and conscience? We are so tired, what did children do to deserve this?”

What Israel says: The Israeli military raided Al-Shifa after it claimed “senior Hamas terrorists” were using the facility to “conduct and promote terrorist activity.” It claims to have detained a senior Hamas operative during the operation. CNN cannot independently verify the IDF’s statements. Hamas has previously denied using hospitals for their operations.

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