GAZA STRIP - The Israeli military withdrew from the Al-Shifa hospital complex in Gaza city after an overnight raid. It said that it discovered military equipment including grenades, automatic weapons and communications technology, confirming that there was a Hamas command operations centre beneath the hospital. Hamas denied the claim, describing it as "nothing but a continuation of the lies and cheap propaganda", to "give justification" for Israel's "crime aimed at destroying the health sector in Gaza". The director of the hospital said that water, electricity and medical oxygen supplies were completely cut off within the facility.

Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to flee parts of southern Gaza, residents said Thursday, signaling a possible expansion of operations to areas where hundreds of thousands are crowded into U.N.-run shelters and homes. Israeli soldiers are still searching Shifa Hospital in the north, in a raid that has yet to uncover evidence of the central Hamas command center that Israel has said is concealed beneath the complex.

Broadening the offensive to the south threatens to worsen an already severe humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory. Over 1.5 million Palestinians have been internally displaced in Gaza, with most having fled to the south, where food, water and electricity are increasingly scarce.

If Israeli troops move south, it is not clear where Gaza’s population can flee, as Egypt refuses to allow a mass transfer onto its soil.