The Israeli army said Monday that it wrapped up its military operation at the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, following a 14-day siege and incursion that resulted in scores of casualties and hundreds of arrests. / Photo: AA

Monday, April 1, 2024

17:38 GMT –– The White House will demand more information from Israel after "deeply concerning" reports of bodies found strewn at Gaza's largest hospital complex as Israeli forces pulled out after an intensive military operation there.

"It is deeply concerning if it's true, we're going to be reaching out to the Israeli government to get more information," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in Washington.

She spoke after the Health Ministry in Gaza reported "dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed" had been found around al-Shifa hospital, while doctors and civilians at the damaged complex told AFP news agency at least 20 bodies had been found, some of which appeared to have been driven over by military vehicles.

17:57 GMT –– UN plans mission to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza to assess situation after Israeli withdrawal

The UN has announced its plans to send a mission to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza following a 14-day Israeli raid.

Providing information on the situation in Gaza, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the UN is "planning a mission to the hospital as soon as we can get there to help people receive medical attention and to assess the state of the hospital."

The decision to send a mission came after reports that Israeli forces vacated the hospital.

At least 21 patients died at al-Shifa since it came under siege, Dujarric said, citing the World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

17:24 GMT –– Top Iranian commander killed in missile attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria

A top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been killed in a missile strike targeting the Iranian Consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, according to local media.

General Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the IRGC's Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon, was killed in a strike that destroyed the Iranian consulate building next to the Iranian Embassy, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

16:15 GMT –– Gaza's al-Shifa hospital turned into ‘House of Death’: Norwegian doctor

A Norwegian doctor, working at the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for 16 years, has said that the hospital has been into a "House of Death by Israel and the US."

"Today, we witness the total Israeli destruction of the most important, 700-bed speciality hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa Medical Complex," said Mads Gilbert in his account on X.

Emphasising that the hospital was established during the British mandate, he added:

“The name Shifa meaning 'The House of Healing'; now turned into a 'House of Death' by Israel and the US, burnt, totally destroyed to rubble and turned into a graveyard of patients, medical staff, relatives and refugees."

1605 GMT –– Another journalist killed in Gaza, death toll rises to 138

One more Palestinian journalist has been killed in Gaza, taking the overall death toll from Israel’s ongoing offensive to 138 since last October, according to Gaza’s government media office.

Mohammad Abu Skheil was killed in an Israeli raid on al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the media office said in a statement.

16:03 GMT –– Israeli lawmakers approve bill to allow Al Jazeera news broadcast ban

The Israeli parliament has passed a bill giving top ministers the authority to bar from Israel the broadcasts of news channel Al Jazeera, a step Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to take.

This law, which passed by 70 votes to 10, carries the authority to ban the broadcast of content from foreign channels but also allows the closing of their offices in Israel.

Netanyahu has vowed to take "immediate action" to shut down Al Jazeera in Israel once the law passes.

Israeli forces have withdrawn from al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, leaving behind a wasteland of destroyed buildings and Palestinian bodies scattered in the dirt of the complex. / Photo: AA

14:23 GMT –– Turkish foreign minister discusses Gaza, regional issues with Qatari, Russian counterparts

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has discussed the Gaza situation and regional developments with his Qatari and Russian counterparts.

According to Türkiye’s Foreign Ministry, Fidan and Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani addressed the latest situation in the besieged Palestinian enclave and regional developments over the phone.

In a separate phone call, Fidan and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed regional issues and navigation security in the Black Sea, diplomatic sources said.

14:01 GMT –– Settling Gaza to hand Israel ‘total victory,’ says Israeli minister

An Israeli minister has called for rebuilding settlements in Gaza, saying the move will represent a “total victory” in Israel’s ongoing war in the Palestinian enclave.

"A total victory means a return to settle there [in Gaza], that is punishment for what they did on October 7. If we don't do that, our soldiers would have fallen for nothing," Minister of the Negev and Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf told the local Radio North.

"We must force them into submission to reach total victory," he said. "That includes invading Rafah and the dismantling of all Palestinian factions."

13:08 GMT –– Israel’s Netanyahu urges Knesset to pass bill to close Al Jazeera

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to shut down Al Jazeera television as soon as the Knesset (parliament) passes a law enabling the closure of the Qatari channel.

The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) is set to vote on the second and third readings of a bill to close down Al Jazeera television on Monday evening.

The first reading of the bill was passed on February 12.

Netanyahu met with coalition whip Ofir Katz and urged him to pass the bill on Monday, his Likud Party said in a statement.

12:14 GMT –– Israel commits atrocities at Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital — Hamas

Israel has committed atrocities during its raid on al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Palestinian resistance group Hamas said.

The Israeli army withdrew from the facility early on Monday after a 14-day raid, leaving behind dozens of people dead and a massive trail of destruction, according to witnesses.

In a statement, Hamas said bodies of handcuffed people were buried alive, while others were trampled by tank tracks, without providing any further details.

Hamas held the US administration “fully responsible for the atrocities and deliberate destruction in the Gaza Strip."

A Palestinian man inspects the damages at al-Shifa hospital after Israeli forces withdrew, in Gaza City, April 1, 2024. / Photo: Reuters

11:04 GMT –– Gaza death toll reaches 32,845: health ministry

At least 32,845 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its war on Gaza in October last year, the enclave's health ministry said.

The toll includes at least 63 deaths over the past 24 hours alone, a ministry statement said, adding that 75,392 others have been wounded.

10:51 GMT –– Israeli army arrests 22 more Palestinians in fresh West Bank raids

Israeli forces rounded up 22 more Palestinians in fresh raids across the occupied West Bank late Sunday and early Monday, according to prisoners' rights groups.

Four women were among the detainees, the Commission of Detainees' Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a joint statement.

Most of the arrests took place in the cities of Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tulkarem, Jenin, Hebron and Bethlehem, the statement added.

With the latest figures, the total number of arrests since October 7 of last year rose to 7,920, according to the statement.

10:08 GMT –– Under fire, US congressman tries to take back remarks that Gaza should be treated 'like Hiroshima'

Facing a backlash, a US congressman has tried to walk back comments saying the besieged Gaza, home to over two million people, should be treated "like Nagasaki and Hiroshima."

At a town meeting last week in southern Michigan, Tim Walberg, a Republican congressman, was asked by a resident of his district about the US building a pier off Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to the people there, who the UN says face a dire risk of famine.

"We should not be spending a dime on humanitarian aid," he said on video posted online last Thursday, adding: "Get it over quick. The same should be in Ukraine."

"It should be like Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Walberg, a former pastor, mentioning the only two cities hit by nuclear weapons, where up to about 226,000 people, mostly civilians, died in 1945 after being bombed by the US.

On X on Sunday, facing criticism, Walberg tried to walk back his remarks, adding that his remarks had been unfairly edited.

09:28 GMT –– Gaza Health Ministry urges reactivation of closed Nasser Hospital

The Gaza-based Health Ministry urged to reopen Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, after it was taken out of service by the Israeli army.

In a statement, the ministry called on all international and humanitarian institutions to make efforts to reactivate the hospital and provide protection for healthcare institutions.

The closure of the facility is a blow to healthcare services, which have already been reduced to their lowest levels, depriving patients of access to medical services, the statement added.

The Israeli army took out of commission the hospital last February in a military raid inside it, resulting in destruction, casualties, injuries and detainees.

Eyewitnesses say Israeli soldiers have completely destroyed the Al-Shifa Complex. / Photo: AA

08:52 GMT –– Gaza's al-Shifa hospital devastated in two-week Israeli assault

Israeli forces have withdrawn from al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after a two-week operation, the Israeli military said, leaving behind a wasteland of destroyed buildings and Palestinian bodies scattered in the dirt of the complex.

Hundreds of residents rushed to the area around Gaza's largest hospital to check on damage to the surrounding residential districts after fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group that administers Gaza.

The Israeli military said it had killed and detained hundreds of gunmen in clashes in the area of the hospital, and seized weaponry and intelligence documents. Hamas and medical staff deny that Palestinian fighters have any armed presence in hospitals.

07:43 GMT –– Israeli army withdraws from al-Shifa — Gaza health ministry

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said the Israeli military had withdrawn tanks and vehicles from the complex housing the besieged territory's main hospital, al-Shifa, days after the launch of a major operation on the site.

The ministry said dozens of bodies had been found at the complex, where an AFP journalist and eyewitnesses saw tanks and vehicles pulling out.

The Israeli military did not immediately confirm any pullout. Eyewitnesses said dozens of air strikes and shells had hit the area around the complex.

07:12 GMT –– Israeli army says 600 soldiers killed since October 7

The Israeli military announced the death of a soldier in fighting in Gaza, bringing the total number of troops killed since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel to 600.

The military announced the death of a soldier, Nadav Cohen, and updated its overall toll to 600 killed since the attacks that triggered the war.

05:58 GMT –– Pope overcomes health concerns to preside over Easter Mass and appeal for peace in Gaza and Ukraine

Pope Francis rallied from a winter-long bout of respiratory problems to lead some 60,000 people in Easter celebrations Sunday, making a strong appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza and a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

Francis presided over Easter Sunday Mass in a flower-decked St Peter's Square and then delivered a heartfelt prayer for peace in his annual roundup of global crises.

Gaza's people, including the small Christian community there, have been a source of constant concern for Francis and Easter in the Holy Land overall was a somber affair this year given the war.

00:30 GMT — Iraq's Islamic Resistance claims responsibility for drone attack on Israel

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for a one-way suicide drone attack on the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.

"The mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq bombed a vital target in our occupied lands Monday morning with appropriate weapons," the group said in a statement

02:57 GMT — US, Israel to discuss Rafah invasion in virtual meeting — report

The US and Israel are set to convene for a virtual meeting on Monday, aiming to discuss alternative proposals from the Biden administration regarding a potential Israeli military invasion of Rafah, as confirmed by four Israeli and US officials speaking to Axios.

FILE PHOTO: US President Biden visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas / Photo: Reuters

Originally scheduled for last week, the meeting has become a source of contention between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden.

Tensions escalated after the US refrained from vetoing a UN Security Council resolution last week, which called for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

02:40 GMT — Iraq's Islamic Resistance claims responsibility for drone attack on Israel

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for a one-way suicide drone attack on the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.

“The mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq bombed a vital target in our occupied lands Monday morning with appropriate weapons,” the group said in a statement.

The statement said the attack was conducted in solidarity with the people of Gaza and as a reaction to “the massacres committed by the usurping entity” against Palestinian civilians.

02:30 GMT — Israeli forces admit most Gaza killings are civilians

Israeli officers and soldiers have admitted that most of the fatalities classified by the army as “terrorists” during its war on Gaza are actually civilians, a report has said.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz collected testimonies from officers and soldiers who have fought in Gaza during the war, which has been ongoing since October 7, 2023.

“The Israeli army says 9,000 terrorists have been killed since the Gaza war began,” the report said.

02:20 GMT — WHO urges Israel to enable access to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged Israel to urgently enable access to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza and establish a humanitarian corridor.

“We urge Israel to urgently facilitate access and a humanitarian corridor so WHO and partners can carry out the lifesaving transfer of patients,” Tedros said on X.

He said 21 patients have died since al-Shifa Hospital came under siege on March 18, with hostilities continuing in its vicinity according to updates from a health worker at the facility.

02:10 GMT Clashes erupt among Israelis over conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews

Clashes erupted in Jerusalem among Israelis demanding the mandatory conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews into military service and those opposing it, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority reported.

The official media outlet reported that police dispersed protesters after clashes erupted between hundreds of Israelis demanding Haredim conscription and those opposing it during a demonstration outside the Mea Shearim neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

It added that the demonstration outside a religious Jewish neighbourhood was organized by the "Brothers in Arms," a movement that advocates for religious and non-religious Israelis to be treated equally in mandatory military conscription.

02:05 GMT Israelis gather in front of Knesset, demand hostage swap deal

Thousands of Israelis began gathering in front of the parliament or Knesset building in Jerusalem to demand a hostage swap deal with Hamas and early elections, an Israeli media outlet said.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that thousands of Israelis from all over the country began to gather in front of the Knesset building in Jerusalem to demand a hostage swap deal and early elections.

02:00 GMT — New Palestinian government sworn in

A new Palestinian government that includes both residents of Gaza and four women was sworn in but was already facing scepticism from its own people.

The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas is under pressure from Washington to prepare to step into the breach in the aftermath of the Gaza war and undertake reforms.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa said his government's "top national priority" was ending the war as he named his new team.

For our live updates from Sunday, March 31, click here.

TRT Afrika and agencies