Israeli military orders new evacuations in southern Gaza, prompting evacuation of European Hospital

The Israeli military issued new evacuation orders on Monday for areas in southern Gaza including eastern Khan Younis and Rafah, forcing residents – many of whom were already displaced – to seek shelter elsewhere in what signals the possibility of another ground operation.

The Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis, one of the territory’s last standing hospitals and which falls within the evacuation zone, has transferred patients, including those in intensive care and babies in incubators, and medical equipment to other hospitals in “fear of a bloodshed,” according to the hospital’s deputy director and doctors.

On Monday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the emergency room at Al Amal hospital in Khan Younis was overcrowded with injuries after patients had been transferred from the European Hospital, following an Israeli military order to evacuate the Al Fukhari area. It said it also received some patients from Nasser Hospital, which it said had also become overcrowded with patients from the European Hospital.

In a separate statement, hours after the initial evacuation orders, the Israel Defense Forces said the order “does not apply to the patients in the European Hospital or the medical staff working there.”

“There is no intention to evacuate the European Hospital,” the statement said.

Videos posted to social media showed hospital patients on stretchers being moved through the streets near the hospital following the orders.

The Israeli military withdrew its ground forces from Khan Younis in April after months of fierce fighting that left much of the city in ruins.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, Louise Wateridge, who is currently in Gaza, said the agency is seeing a “massive” movement of people from the evacuation zones after the Israeli military’s latest order was issued. The agency said it expects around 250,000 people in the evacuation zones to leave the area.

Meanwhile, Israeli strikes and shelling on Khan Younis continued, with at least eight people killed and 32 injured overnight, according to Nasser hospital.

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