The Israel Defense Forces on Friday said the Hamas terror group’s main base of operations is under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, providing visuals and intercepted audio as evidence of the terror organization’s activities.
In a briefing for reporters of international media outlets, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Hamas has several underground complexes under Shifa — the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip — that are used by the terror group’s leaders to direct attacks against Israel.
Hagari said Israel has intelligence that there are several tunnels leading to the underground base from outside the hospital so that Hamas officials do not need to enter the hospital to reach it. But Hagari added that there is also an entrance to the underground complex from within one of the wards.
“Right now, terrorists move freely in Shifa Hospital, and other hospitals in Gaza,” Hagari said.
The military spokesperson said Israel has “concrete evidence” that “hundreds of terrorists flooded into the hospital to hide” following the October 7 massacre, in which some 2,500 terrorists burst through the border under cover of a deluge of rockets, and rampaged through more than 20 communities near the Gaza Strip. They killed some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, massacring them in their homes and at an outdoor music festival. They also abducted over 220 people to the Strip as hostages.
According to the IDF, Hamas’s internal security also has a command center inside Shifa Hospital, from which it directs rocket fire on Israel and stores weapons.
The hospital’s energy infrastructure is also used by Hamas’s underground base, Hagari said, accusing the terror group of using the hospital and its occupants — with 1,500 beds and some 4,000 staff — as human shields.
The information on Hamas’s use of the hospital is based on a wide range of intelligence sources collected by the Military Intelligence Directorate and Shin Bet security agency.
Hagari said the intel has already been provided to allies.
A senior member of the Hamas political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, said the Israeli military’s allegations were unfounded.
“There’s no basis in truth in what the spokesman of the enemy army stated,” Rishq said, accusing Israel of making up the allegations to “pave the way for a new massacre to be committed against our people.”
Rishq claimed 40,000 Gazans have sought refuge in the hospital as a result of Israel’s aerial bombardment of the Strip, following the terror group’s massive shock assault three weeks ago, and called on Arab and Muslim leaders to “take action to stop the genocide against our people.”
“Hamas wages war from hospitals” in Gaza, Hagari told journalists, adding that the terror group was also using fuel stored in hospitals to help carry out its operations.
“Terrorists move freely” in Shifa and other hospitals, he said. “Hamas’s use of hospitals is systematic.”
“Hamas terrorists operate inside hospitals precisely because they know the IDF distinguishes between terrorists and civilians. Israel targets terrorists, Hamas targets Israeli civilians and Gazan civilians,” Hagari added.
The military spokesperson asserted that Hamas is stealing fuel from civilians in Gaza. Israel has blocked the entrance of fuel into the Strip since the war started, so he appeared to be referring to fuel that was already in the Strip.
“There is fuel in hospitals in Gaza, and Hamas is using it for its terror infrastructure,” he said, playing a recording that he said was a conversation between a pair of Gazan residents who make the revelation.
In another conversation aired by the military, a senior Gazan energy official reveals that Hamas currently has at least a million liters of gasoline and possibly more, which it stole from civilian projects and is currently hoarding to power its tunnels networks.
Earlier Friday, the commissioner general for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, denied that any aid was being diverted.
“We have solid monitoring mechanisms… UNRWA does not and will not divert any humanitarian aid into the wrong hands,” Lazzarini said.
But on October 16, UNRWA indicated that Hamas authorities in Gaza had stolen fuel and medical supplies meant for refugees from its premises. Shortly after posting the claim on X, UNRWA deleted the posts and later asserted that nothing had been looted.
Gaza hospitals have been a key feature of the now three-week-long Gaza war, with Hamas on October 17 claiming that an Israeli strike targeted al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City and killed over 500 civilians. The claim was disproven within hours by Israeli and US intelligence, which found that the explosion occurred just outside the hospital, was caused by an errant Islamic Jihad rocket and killed far fewer than 500 people.
Since Israel launched retaliatory air and artillery strikes on the day of the attack, at least 7,326 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to figures released by the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry. Those numbers cannot be independently verified and include Palestinian terrorists killed by Israel as well as Palestinian civilians killed by errant rockets launched by terror groups in Gaza.
Israel says it killed 1,500 Hamas terrorists inside Israel on and after October 7. PJC