The Latest | Israeli forces withdraw from Gaza’s main hospital after 2-week raid, Palestinians say


Palestinian residents say the Israeli military has withdrawn from Gaza’s main hospital after a two-week raid, leaving behind a vast swath of destruction.

Hundreds of people returned to Shifa Hospital and the surrounding area after the withdrawal early Monday, where they found bodies inside and outside of the facility.

The military has described the raid as one of the most successful operations of the nearly six-month war, saying it killed scores of Hamas and other militants, as well as seizing valuable intelligence.


A woman holds up a sign that reads in English 'Palestinians Lives Matter', during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group, outside of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered outside the parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on the government to reach a deal to free dozens of hostages held by Hamas and to hold early elections. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
A woman holds up a sign that reads in English ‘Palestinians Lives Matter’, during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group, outside of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered outside the parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on the government to reach a deal to free dozens of hostages held by Hamas and to hold early elections. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Mohammed Mahdi, who was among those who returned, described a scene of “total destruction.” He said several buildings had been burned down. He counted six bodies in the area, including two in the hospital courtyard.

Israel’s war in Gaza has killed more than 32,000 people and wounded at least 74,000, according to the the territory’s Health Ministry. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

The war has displaced most the territory’s population and driven a third of its residents to the brink of famine. Northern Gaza, where Shifa is located, has suffered vast destruction and has been largely isolated since October.

Currently:

— Palestinians say Israeli troops have withdrawn from Gaza’s main hospital after 2-week raid

— Israelis stage largest protest since war began to increase pressure on Netanyahu

— US military says it destroyed Houthi drones over the Red Sea and in Yemen

— Pope overcomes health concerns to preside over Easter Mass and appeal for peace in Gaza and Ukraine

— Ships with a second round of aid for Gaza have departed Cyprus as concerns about hunger soar

— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

PALESTINIANS SAY ISRAELI TROOPS HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM GAZA’S MAIN HOSPITAL AFTER 2-WEEK RAID

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Palestinian residents say the Israeli military has withdrawn from Gaza’s main hospital after a two-week raid, leaving behind a vast swath of destruction.

Hundreds of people returned to Shifa Hospital and the surrounding area after the withdrawal early Monday, where they found bodies inside and outside of the facility.

The military has described the raid as one of the most successful operations of the nearly six-month war, saying it killed scores of Hamas and other militants, as well as seizing valuable intelligence.

Mohammed Mahdi, who was among those who returned, described a scene of “total destruction.” He said several buildings had been burned down. He counted six bodies in the area, including two in the hospital courtyard.

Another resident, Yahia Abu Auf, said there were still patients, medical workers and displaced people sheltering inside the medical compound. He said several patients had been taken to the nearby Ahli Hospital. He said army bulldozers had plowed over a makeshift cemetery inside the hospital compound.

ISRAELIS STAGE LARGEST PROTEST SINCE WAR BEGAN TO INCREASE PRESSURE ON NETANYAHU

JERUSALEM — Tens of thousands of Israelis thronged central Jerusalem on Sunday in the largest anti-government protest since the country went to war in October. Protesters urged the government to reach a cease-fire deal to free dozens of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas militants and to hold early elections.

Israeli society was broadly united immediately after Oct. 7, when Hamas killed some 1,200 people during a cross-border attack and took 250 others hostage. Nearly six months of conflict have renewed divisions over the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though the country remains largely in favor of the war.

Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas and bring all the hostages home, yet those goals have been elusive. While Hamas has suffered heavy losses, it remains intact.

Roughly half the hostages in Gaza were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November. But attempts by international mediators to bring home the remaining hostages have failed. Talks resumed on Sunday with no signs that a breakthrough was imminent.

Hostages’ families believe time is running out, and they are getting more vocal about their displeasure with Netanyahu.

“We believe that no hostages will come back with this government because they’re busy putting sticks in the wheels of negotiations for the hostages,” said Boaz Atzili, whose cousin, Aviv Atzili and his wife, Liat, were kidnapped on Oct. 7. Liat was released but Aviv was killed, and his body is in Gaza. “Netanyahu is only working in his private interests.”

US MILITARY SAYS IT DESTROYED HOUTHI DRONES OVER THE RED SEA AND IN YEMEN