Israeli forces storm Gaza's Nasser hospital amid rising tensions with Hezbollah

Palestinians wounded in Israeli airstrikes arrive at the Nasser hospital in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Palestinians wounded in Israeli airstrikes arrive at the Nasser hospital in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Copyright AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

Israel's special forces storm Gaza's Nasser hospital

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Israeli troops entered the main hospital in southern Gaza on Thursday in what the army said was a limited operation seeking the remaining hostages taken by Hamas.

One patient was killed and seven wounded when Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis came under fire on Wednesday, according to Dr Khaled Alserr, a surgeon at the hospital.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian structures to shield its fighters. Critics say there is little evidence to support this claim. 

Hospitals should not be attacked under international humanitarian law. 

Israel's military said it had “credible intelligence” that Hamas had held hostages at the hospital and that the remaining captives might still be inside, but it is yet to provide evidence for independent verification.

FILE - Hamas' militants transport Yaffa Adar, 85, an Israeli civilian kidnapped from Nir Oz, into Gaza strip in a golf cart, in an unspecified location between Israel and Gaza
FILE - Hamas' militants transport Yaffa Adar, 85, an Israeli civilian kidnapped from Nir Oz, into Gaza strip in a golf cart, in an unspecified location between Israel and GazaAP/AP

The raid came amid warnings by governments around the world that Israel should not attack the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Gaza residents are thought to be sheltering. 

Israeli forces ordered civilians to flee to the Egyptian border city, which Israel claims is Hamas' last stronghold, but have not yet presented an evacuation plan.

Negotiations over a ceasefire in Gaza appear to have stalled, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is destroyed and hostages are returned.

Israel complains after Vatican denounces 'carnage' in Gaza

Israel has formally complained after a senior Vatican official spoke of "carnage" in Gaza and what he called a disproportionate Israeli military operation following the 7 October Hamas attacks.

The Israeli embassy to the Holy See called the comments by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, "regrettable". In a statement on Wednesday, the embassy said Parolin hadn't considered what it called the relevant facts in assessing the legitimacy of Israel's actions.

Speaking at a reception on Tuesday, Parolin condemned the 7 October Hamas attacks against Israel and all forms of anti-Semitism. But he questioned Israel's claim that it was acting in self-defence by inflicting "carnage" on Gaza.

"Israel's right to self-defence has been invoked to justify that this operation is proportional, but with 30,000 dead, it's not," he said.

Israel has previously objected to the Vatican's position on the war, including when Pope Francis spoke of "terrorism".

The Pope, who speaks daily via videoconference to a Gaza parish housing Palestinian civilians, has since tried to be more balanced in his comments, and recently wrote a letter to the Jewish people reaffirming the special relationship between Christians and Jews.

Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon leave ten civilians dead

The civilian death toll from two Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon on Wednesday has risen to ten, according to Lebanese state media.

Israel fired a barrage of rockets on targets near the city of Nabatiyeh Wednesday, hours after projectiles from Lebanon killed an Israeli soldier and wounded eight more.

It makes it the deadliest day in more than four months of cross-border fire exchanges between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate for Wednesday's strikes, in a sign of escalating tensions on Israel's northern border.

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Civil defense and rescue workers remove rubbles from a building that was attacked Wednesday night by an Israeli airstrike, in Nabatiyeh town, south Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 15,
Civil defense and rescue workers remove rubbles from a building that was attacked Wednesday night by an Israeli airstrike, in Nabatiyeh town, south Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 15,Mohammed Zaatari/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Further Israeli strikes were reported in southern Lebanon on Thursday. Israeli military said the strikes were targeted at Hezbollah infrastructure and launch posts. Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the escalation.

“At a time where we are insisting on calm and call all sides to not escalate, we find the Israeli enemy extending its aggression,” read a statement from his office.

The Israeli army would continue to respond to Hezbollah’s regular attacks, said spokesperson Avi Hyman from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. “Our message to Hezbollah has and always will be: Don’t try us.”

Israeli ministers reject two-state solution

Israel's hardline finance minister Bezalel Smotrich has rejected plans for Palestinian statehood, claiming the current government will "in no way agree" to it.

"We will in no way agree to this plan, which actually says that the Palestinians deserve a reward for the terrible massacre they did to us: a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said on social media platform X.

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"The message is that it pays very well to massacre Israeli citizens," he added.

His calls were echoed by far-right national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

"1,400 are murdered and the world wants to give them a state. not going to happen!" he wrote on X.

The so-called two-state solution, which would ensure statehood for Palestinians, is the Western-backed plan to secure lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The intransigence and racial fundamentalism of many of Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right cabinet members is seen as a major obstacle to a ceasefire, as well as to long-term peace and security in the region.

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