Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”, saying the killing “of women, of children, of babies” in the war between Israel and Hamas must stop.

The Israeli military stormed the Al-Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza, on Wednesday in what it described as “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas”.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said military operations were taking place at the hospital, the focal point of days of deadly fighting and nearby aerial bombardments.

Read: Fierce fighting in Gaza after Israel rebuffs US pause call

Speaking before that operation, Trudeau urged the government of Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”.

“The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al-Shifa hospital,” Trudeau told an unrelated event in British Columbia Province late on Tuesday.


“The world is watching on TV, social media and we are hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents,” he said.

“The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop.”

The United Nations estimates that at least 2,300 people, patients, staff and displaced civilians, are inside the hospital compound and may be unable to escape the fighting.

Read: UN calls for ‘humanitarian truce’ in Gaza

Trudeau also said Hamas “needs to stop using Palestinians as human shields” and that they “need to release all the hostages immediately and unconditionally”.

Canada and other Western nations have expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself after Hamas’ brutal October 7 attacks that killed an estimated 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

An estimated 240 others were taken hostage into Gaza during the attacks.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says Israel’s ensuing aerial bombardment and ground offensive have killed 11,320 people, mostly civilians, including thousands of children.

“The price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians. Even wars have rules,” Trudeau said.

“All innocent life is equal in worth — Israeli and Palestinian.”

Trudeau paid tribute to Canadian-Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver, 74, whose killing on October 7 was confirmed on Tuesday.

She was initially thought to be held hostage by Hamas.

“Vivian dedicated her life to peace and the bright light was extinguished on October 7,” he said.

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