Deir Al-Balah: An Israeli airstrike hit a tent camp in the courtyard of a crowded hospital in central Gaza on Sunday, killing two Palestinians and wounding another 15, including journalists working nearby.

An Associated Press reporter filmed the strike and aftermath at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where thousands of people have sheltered after fleeing their homes elsewhere in the war-ravaged territory. The Israeli military said it struck a command centre of the Islamic Jihad militant group and claimed the hospital’s functioning was not affected.

A wounded person is carried to hospital following an Israeli airstrike near the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah in Gaza on Sunday.

A wounded person is carried to hospital following an Israeli airstrike near the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah in Gaza on Sunday.Credit: AP

The airstrike on the hospital camp came a day after an Australian was among three UN military observers and a Lebanese interpreter wounded while patrolling the southern Lebanese border.

Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in hospitals since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered troops into Gaza nearly six months ago.

Netanyahu called a press conference on Sunday hours after his office said he would have hernia surgery after the problem was discovered during a routine checkup. Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a close confidant and deputy prime minister, would act as prime minister during the operation, the government said.

Israeli troops have been raiding Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, for nearly two weeks and say they have fought heavy battles with militants in and around the medical compound.


Palestinian families who fled from the area, including many who had been displaced earlier in the war, say they were ordered to march south by Israeli soldiers after days of heavy fighting.

Only a third of Gaza’s hospitals are even partially functioning, while Israeli strikes kill and wound scores of people every day. Doctors say they are often forced to treat patients on hospital floors because all the beds are taken, and to operate without anaesthetic and other crucial medical supplies.

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