Israeli military denies claims it has laid siege to Gaza’s largest hospital

The Israeli military denies it is firing at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, and rejected suggestions the hospital is under siege.

“There is no shooting at the hospital and there is no siege,” Col. Moshe Tetro, a senior Israeli defense ministry official with responsibilities for Gaza, said in a statement. “The East Side of the hospital remains open. Additionally, (the military) can coordinate (with) anyone who wants to leave the hospital safely.”

In a video sent out by the Israel Defense Forces to accompany the written statement, Tetro said there were, “clashes between IDF troops and Hamas terrorist operatives around the hospital.”

He added that he was in “constant contact” with the director of Al-Shifa, and had told him the IDF could coordinate evacuations from the hospital.

CNN has been unable to confirm whether anyone was able to leave the hospital complex over the course of the day.

What officials in Gaza have said: A senior official at the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza told CNN earlier Saturday that Al-Shifa is surrounded on all four sides by Israeli forces, under “complete siege.”

In a separate statement sent to CNN Saturday, the ministry said the hospital was “out of service,” with the fifth floor of the surgery building heavily shelled and medical staff unable to move within the complex.

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