Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, has become a flashpoint in the conflict that began when Hamas militants crossed the border into Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people.
Palestinians cite the fighting around Al-Shifa as evidence of Israel’s callous disregard for civilian life in Gaza, while Hamas exemplifies the Israeli hospital for using civilians as human shields.
Since launching an operation in al-Shifa this week, Israel has said it has found a tunnel shaft and military hardware, but has yet to show evidence of a large-scale command and control center. This is what we know so far.
What does Israel say? Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of operating from tunnels beneath the sprawling al-Shifa hospital complex.
In a media briefing last month, Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Hamas was directing rocket attacks from bunkers located under the hospital building, linked to a network of tunnels dug by Hamas under Gaza City.
The IDF also released an illustrative video “based on intelligence” of what it says is a Hamas headquarters under al-Shifa. The video features a 3D map of the hospital and an animated network of tunnels and operating rooms.
Citing US intelligence services, the White House has backed Israel’s claims that Hamas has stockpiled weapons and operates a command node from Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
Hamas denies this: Israel’s claims were strongly denied by Hamas and those responsible for the hospital.
Director-General of the Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, Dr. Medat Abbas told CNN that the enclave’s hospitals “are only used to treat patients” and are not used to “hide anyone.”
Hamas accused the US of giving Israel the green light to “carry out further massacres against civilians” after Israel launched its offensive, using a “false narrative” that it was using al-Shifa as a command center.
CNN has not verified the claims by either Israel or Hamas.
What evidence has Israel provided? After launching a search on Wednesday, Israeli soldiers found a hospital room where they found “military and combat equipment used by Hamas, as well as technical assets”.
“In another section of the hospital, the soldiers set up an operational command center and technical assets belonging to Hamas,” the statement said, indicating that “the terrorist organization is using the hospital for terrorist purposes.”
Israel has released a video to support its claim that there is a tunnel at al-Shifa stadium. In the pictures, the well appears to be reinforced with concrete. Pipes and wiring can be seen exposed near the surface. Hamas dismissed the findings as “baseless lies”.
According to the Israeli military, the bodies of two Israeli hostages were found near Al-Shifa Hospital this week.
Israel said it was continuing to uncover tunnel infrastructure and would provide more evidence.
The UN seeks access to: The United Nations human rights chief has asked Israel to allow his team into Gaza to investigate competing claims about Hamas’ use of al-Shifa as a base.
“We have to investigate this with access. We can’t trust one side or the other when it comes to this,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Dürk told CNN’s Becky Anderson when asked about allegations that Hamas is hiding from the Israeli military. Weapons in hospital.
The situation “needs an independent international investigation because we have different stories.”
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