JERUSALEM (AP) — Three weeks ago, the Israeli military unveiled a detailed 3D model of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital – showing a series of underground installations that it said was part of an elaborate Hamas command and control center under the territory’s largest health-care center.
After gaining control of the hospital, the military has not yet revealed the supposed center. However, they have shared videos of weapons supposedly confiscated within the hospital, a tunnel that runs through the building, and footage that appears to show Hamas fighters pulling captives through the corridors. Israel claims that there will be additional evidence presented.
The outcome of Israel’s search, whether successful or unsuccessful, could greatly impact their attempts to gain global backing for their conflict with Hamas. This war was initiated on October 7th as a response to a violent attack from the Islamic extremist organization.
This is an in-depth examination of the Israeli attack on Shifa Hospital.
The hospitals in Gaza have been a focal point of the conflicting stories surrounding the war.
Under the laws of war, hospitals are granted special protection. However, if they are utilized for military purposes, they may forfeit this protected status.
Israel has consistently asserted that Hamas employs hospitals, schools, mosques, and residential areas as a means of protection. Specifically, it accuses Hamas of concealing command centers and underground shelters beneath the expansive premises of Shifa. The United States affirms that its own intelligence supports these assertions. However, Hamas refutes these accusations.
The country of Israel reports that several hospitals are also being utilized for military activities. As a result, they have mandated the evacuation of numerous Gaza hospitals, including Shifa, as they continue their ground operation against Hamas.
The United Nations and other global organizations have expressed concern that these evacuations have put patients at risk and have placed a heavy burden on the remaining hospitals in the besieged area.
With Israel already facing mounting international criticism of its offensive, a failure to uncover a significant Hamas presence could step up the pressure to halt the operation. Israel has vowed to press ahead until it destroys Hamas.
The Israeli army has shared footage displaying AK47s, bullets, and other military gear that was reportedly discovered in the MRI section of a hospital. They also claimed to have found a Toyota pickup truck loaded with weapons in the hospital’s garage. The truck seems to be of the same model often used by Hamas fighters during the October 7 attack.
Over the weekend, a video was published showing a 55-meter tunnel in a hospital courtyard. The subterranean construction was extensively fortified and ended with a blast-resistant door, which Israel claims was intended for use by Hamas snipers.
Israel also shared footage from security cameras that showed Hamas fighters accompanying two hostages, identified as one person from Thailand and another from Nepal, who were captured during a cross-border attack on October 7th. In one video, a group of men are seen forcefully pulling their hostage into the hospital through the main entrance and down a hallway. The second video shows a group of men, including at least one armed individual, pushing a man on a stretcher through a hallway. Hospital staff can be seen observing in both videos.
The footage contained time stamps corresponding to the morning of October 7, coinciding with the time of the assault. However, the identities of the two alleged hostages were obscured, making it challenging to confirm the validity of the recordings.
The military shared images of two stolen Israeli military jeeps. These photos depicted the jeeps being parked at the hospital complex during the attack.
Israel’s military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, stated that it is evident that Hamas uses hospitals as a base for war and terror. Those concerned about the well-being of humanity should denounce this behavior.
Hamas downplayed the images, claiming that they provided medical care to the men in their custody.
The militant group stated that they are willing to risk their fighters in order to ensure that injured prisoners receive the best possible treatment in hospitals located in the Gaza Strip.
According to Osama Hamdan, a prominent Hamas leader living in Beirut, Israel may discover a tunnel “in this area or that.”
During a news conference, he stated that we acknowledge the existence of numerous tunnels in and around Gaza. However, he also emphasized that Hamas does not utilize hospitals for militant purposes.
The destination and purpose of the Shifa tunnel, as well as any further details, have not been disclosed by Israel.
However, the illustration from Oct. 27 depicting underground bunkers and conference rooms has not been substantiated by any evidence thus far.
Hamdan, the leader of Hamas, derided the Israeli findings thus far. “The Israelis claimed there was a command and control center, indicating that this issue is more significant than just a tunnel,” he stated.
The Israeli military has stated that the initial illustrations were merely conceptual and not to be interpreted literally. They have also assured that there will be numerous additional findings as soldiers diligently search through a vast area spanning over 10 acres (40,000 square meters).
According to Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, another military spokesperson, it will require some time.
AP’s full war coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war