Israeli troops have been accused of desecrating dead bodies and shooting civilians who tried to help the wounded at a hospital in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun which the Israeli military said was being used as a “command center” by Hamas militants.
Medical staff from the hospital, along with the international human rights group, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, said Israeli troops took over Al-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, which specializes in treating people with disabilities, last month. During the takeover, the staff said troops entered the hospital, broke doors, threw objects around, and desecrated at least five bodies in the hospital’s morgue.
In addition, staff and witnesses say Israeli troops opened fire on civilians attempting to help the wounded. One doctor at the hospital told the Associated Press that he saw troops shooting at ambulances that were trying to evacuate wounded people from the hospital.
The Israeli military has denied any wrongdoing in the incident and said it was acting according to international law and that the hospital was being used as a “command center” by Hamas militants. However, medical staff and international rights groups disagree with this account.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have said there is no evidence to back up the Israeli military’s claims, and have called for an independent investigation into the matter. They also accused the Israeli military of violating international law by attacking a medical facility and “endangering the lives of patients, staff and bystanders”.