ISRAEL Defense Forces (IDF) presented visual evidence proving that what they claimed in the past that Hamas militants have used Gaza’s largest and most advanced referral hospital as their base operations.
Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, IDF international spokesperson, said the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (ISA) have discovered a tunnel shaft under the beleaguered al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza.
The al-Shifa hospital has been under siege, drawing condemnation from the United Nations and other international humanitarian groups. Under the international humanitarian law, combatants should not attack hospitals during war.
But the Israeli government has been insisting that the Hamas militants have been using hospitals as human shields.
According to the IDF statement, the newly discovered tunnel is 55-meters long and 10-meters deep located “in the area of the hospital underneath a shed alongside a vehicle containing numerous weapons, including RPGs, explosives, and Kalashnikov rifles.”
A narrow staircase leads to the entrance of the tunnel shaft, which the IDF said contains various defense mechanisms, such as “blast-proof door and a firing hole.”
“This type of door is used by the Hamas terrorist organization to block Israeli forces from entering the command centers and the underground assets belonging to Hamas,” the IDF said in a statement.
The IDF also published an aerial photo of the al-Shifa complex, with areas that it claimed were used by Hamas. Among these are explosive devices stored in the physical therapy ward, an interrogation room in the cardiology ward, weapons and intelligence in the MRI center,
“For weeks we’ve been telling the world about Hamas’ cynical use of the residents of the Gaza and patients of Shifa Hospital as human shields,” Lt. Col. Hecht said.
The video published was taken from a sophisticated drone of the Israeli special forces Shaldag or Unit 5101.
Israel also showed screenshots of CCTV footage of the hospital where Hamas militants allegedly used the al-Shifa complex on October 7 “as terrorist infrastructure.”
The IDF claimed since 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza Strip, the al-Shifa Hospital has become “one of the de facto Hamas headquarters.”
“By sacrificing the neutrality of these institutions and violating international law, Hamas transforms them into legitimate military targets. Overtime, Hamas transformed the lower floors of the hospital into a terror complex for planning attacks,” the IDF said in a separate statement posted on Instagram.
On Sunday, November 19, a joint UN humanitarian assessment team led by the World Health Organization evacuated 31 babies from al-Shifa hospital to another hospital in southern Gaza. While the UN team was there, two babies died before the evacuation could take place.
The medical facility is no longer operational and could no longer accept new patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) described it as a “death zone.”
Over 250 patients — 22 are undergoing dialysis and 50 have spinal injuries — and 20 health workers remain at Al-Shifa, and all have already requested immediate evacuation.
“WHO reiterates its plea for collective efforts to bring an end to the hostilities and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire, the sustained flow of humanitarian assistance at scale, unhindered humanitarian access to all of those in need, the unconditional release of all hostages—many of whom have serious medical needs—and the cessation of attacks on health care and other vital infrastructure,” the WHO said.