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Palestinians And Aid Groups Flee From Central Gaza’s Main Hospital As Fighting Draws Closer

As the conflict between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli forces intensifies, witnesses said on Monday that doctors, patients, and displaced people are leaving the main hospital in central Gaza.

To a health system already devastated by three months of fighting, losing the facility would be a devastating blow.

In recent days, Doctors Without Borders and other humanitarian organizations left the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, citing safety concerns. Many of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who had fled to the south of the besieged zone did so as a result of the panic that spread among those seeking safety there.

Israel says it has largely wrapped up major operations in northern Gaza and is now focusing on the central region and the southern city of Khan Younis. Israeli officials have said the fighting will continue for many more months as the army seeks to dismantle Hamas and return scores of hostages taken during the militant group’s Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.

The offensive has already killed over 22,000 Palestinians, devastated vast swaths of the Gaza Strip, displaced nearly 85% of its population of 2.3 million and left a quarter of its residents facing starvation.

It has also threatened to ignite a wider war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militant groups allied with Hamas.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in the region this week.

The United States, which has supported the attack militarily and diplomatically and has joined Israel in rejecting appeals from around the world for a cease-fire, has urged Israel to take more precautions to protect civilians.

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