Palestinian Territory - The Israeli military continues to use Palestinian civilians as human shields in its military operation inside the al-Shifa Medical Complex and its vicinity in Gaza City.

 

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented several consistent testimonies regarding the Israeli army’s deliberate use of Palestinian civilians as human shields against their will, and forcing them into dangerous situations to secure and protect its forces and military operations inside the Shifa Medical Complex in. This has been ongoing since early Monday morning.

 

Testimonies reveal that Israeli forces used civilians, including patients and displaced individuals inside the Shifa Medical Complex, as human shields, exploiting them to protect their military operations within the hospital, form barriers behind their forces and military vehicles, or send them under threat to residential homes and buildings surrounding the medical complex to evacuate them before the Israeli army raids, arrests some of the residents, and subsequently destroys many of these buildings.

 

One Palestinian, identified as K.F (requesting anonymity), who was sheltering in the Shifa Medical Complex, stated that Israeli forces ordered him and three other young men to enter several rooms inside the Shifa Medical Complex after cameras were attached to their heads. They were then forced to move by remote orders issued by the Israeli army towards specific locations for inspection.

 

He added that he was forced by the Israeli army to move through orders in the General Surgery building inside the Shifa Medical Complex for several continuous hours before being forcibly evacuated with his wife and daughter, while knowing nothing about the fate of the other young men used by the Israeli army as human shields in the same incident.

 

M.N, an elderly man in his sixties, stated that the Israeli army forced his eldest son to enter the basements of the Shifa Medical Complex and sewage areas, while he witnessed other detainees being placed inside armored vehicles during the fighting. Others were forced to stand behind the army forces and military vehicles stationed at the entrances of the complex to fortify and prevent any targeting of them.

 

In another testimony, the wife of a nurse forced by the Israeli army to evacuate the complex towards the city of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip, witnessed the Israeli forces using her husband as a human shield to open doors to sections in the Shifa Medical Complex for several consecutive hours. She stated that her husband's fate remains unknown, and she fears for his safety.

 

Furthermore, several families residing near the Shifa Medical Complex reported that Israeli forces used young men, who were arrested from inside the complex, to enter their homes and demand immediate evacuation to central and southern Gaza Strip.

 

A woman from the "Arafat" family informed the Euro-Med Monitor team that they were surprised by the entry of a man in his late thirties, stripped of his clothes except for his underwear. He informed them that the Israeli army sent him to evacuate their home within 30 minutes, threatening to bomb it over their heads. Upon their evacuation, as ordered, they witnessed several other Palestinian youths in similar conditions, as the army forced them to enter neighbouring homes to warn their residents.

 

Last Monday morning, the Israeli army raided the Shifa Medical Complex in the western city of Gaza amid heavy gunfire and the buzzing of drones, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries, and the arrest of hundreds more. Additionally, dozens of residential homes surrounding the complex were destroyed and set ablaze after being raided.

 

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor expresses deep concern about the current situation in the Shifa Medical Complex and the risks facing civilians, including patients, healthcare workers, and displaced individuals inside it, who are protected under international humanitarian law. Medical facilities and civilians must be protected and attacks against them must be halted immediately.

 

Euro-Med Monitor calls on the international community to fulfill its international responsibilities in stopping the genocide being perpetrated against all residents of the Gaza Strip, and to take immediate and serious action to halt all Israeli army crimes committed against civilians and civilian objects protected under international law.