Israeli Military Withdraws from Gaza Hospital Complex

Israeli Military Withdraws from Gaza Hospital Complex
Israeli Military Withdraws from Gaza Hospital Complex

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said the Israeli military had withdrawn tanks and vehicles from the complex housing the besieged territory's main hospital, Al-Shifa, days after the launch of a major operation on the site.

The ministry said dozens of bodies had been found at the complex, where a journalist and eyewitnesses saw tanks and vehicles pulling out.

Eyewitnesses said dozens of air strikes and shells had hit the area around the complex.

The Hamas government media office said the Israeli air strikes had provided cover for the withdrawing vehicles.

The army launched its operation on March 18 and has described it as a "precise" one targeting Hamas militants it accused of operating from the complex.

It has previously said 200 militants had been killed in fighting in and around Al-Shifa.

Hamas has denied operating from Al-Shifa and other health facilities.

"Dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, have been recovered from in and around the Al-Shifa medical complex," the health ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli military "withdrew from the Al-Shifa medical complex after burning down the complex buildings and putting it completely out of service", it said.

"The scale of the destruction inside the complex and the buildings around it is very large."

A doctor said more than 20 bodies had been recovered and that some had been crushed by withdrawing vehicles.

With hundreds of thousands of Gazans displaced by the war, hundreds had sought refuge at the Al-Shifa complex prior to the operation.

Israeli troops first raided Al-Shifa in November, but said militants had since returned.

Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli military announced 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of the war.