Hospital in northern Israel prepares underground ward

A hospital in northern Israel has set up an underground ward to prepare for a possible escalation of attacks from Lebanon-based Shia militant group Hezbollah.

Sporadic fighting between the two sides continues in the north, while the Israeli military intensifies its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on the southern border.

Local media outlets say seven people including soldiers have been killed on the Israeli side and about 50 Hezbollah fighters have died on the Lebanese side since October 7.

A hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa has turned an underground parking area into a patient ward.

It says the makeshift space houses 2,000 beds, and the staff are ready to move all patients and equipment there within about 50 hours.

Emergency equipment to supply power and oxygen is installed on the walls. There are about 100 intensive care beds for wounded soldiers and civilians.

The ward is already in operation, and local emergency crews have been visiting to learn more.

The hospital's deputy director said many civilians will be killed if the fighting escalates.

He also stressed the need for safe facilities so that medical personnel can continue doing their jobs in wartime.