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Israel’s military withdraw from Shifa Hospital

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — The Israeli military withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital early Monday after a two-week raid that engulfed the facility and surrounding districts in fighting.

The military has described the raid on Shifa Hospital as a major battlefield victory in the nearly six-month war, and officials said Israeli troops killed 200 terrorists in the operation.

Elsewhere, Syrian officials and state media said an Israeli airstrike destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing two Iranian generals and five officers.

The strike appears to signify an escalation of Israel’s targeting of Iranian military officials and their allies in Syria. The targeting has intensified since Hamas terrorists — who are supported by Iran — attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Iran has long vowed to destroy Israel.

While Iran’s consular building was leveled in the attack, according to Syria’s SANA state news agency, its main embassy building remained intact.

Israel said it had no comment. Iran’s ambassador, Hossein Akbari, vowed revenge for the attack “at the same magnitude and harshness.”

Israel said it launched the latest raid on Shifa Hospital because senior Hamas operatives had regrouped there and were planning attacks. Israeli authorities identified six officials from Hamas’ military wing they said were killed inside the hospital during the raid. Israel also said it seized weapons and valuable intelligence.

The military denied that its forces harmed any civilians inside the compound. Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes and has raided many hospitals across the territory.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the top military spokesman, said Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group established their main northern headquarters inside the hospital. He described days of close-quarters fighting and blamed Hamas for the destruction, saying some fighters barricaded themselves inside hospital wards while others launched mortar rounds at the compound.

Hagari said the troops arrested some 900 suspected terrorists during the raid, including more than 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, and seized more than $3 million in different currencies, as well as weapons.

He said the army evacuated more than 200 of the estimated 300 to 350 patients and delivered food, water and medical supplies to the rest. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid, the military said.

The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led terrorists stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.

Israel responded with an air, land and sea offensive that has killed at least 32,845 Palestinians, according to Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count.

Hamas and other terrorists are still believed to be holding some 100 hostages and the remains of 30 others, after freeing most of the rest during a cease-fire last November in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

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