Israel Offers Up Images of ‘Rocket-Making Workshop’ Hidden in Basement of a Gaza Mosque

The new images come following the release Sunday of CCTV footage from the Shifa hospital showing hostages abducted on October 7 being hurried into the building.

AP/Leo Correa
Destroyed buildings at the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, November 20, 2023. AP/Leo Correa

Mosques can now be added to the growing list of facilities in Gaza that Hamas terrorists have been using for military purposes after Israel released images Monday of a large cache of weapons, what is described as a “rocket-making workshop,” and a tunnel entrance at a house of prayer in Gaza.

Troops with an Israeli Defense Forces armored brigade entered the mosque in the Zeitoun neighborhood on the south side of Gaza City, widely cited as a Hamas stronghold on the strip. After scanning the site for booby traps, an IDF spokesman told Israeli press outlets Monday evening, the troops uncovered the tunnel shaft and a staircase leading to the basement, where the rocket-making workshop was discovered.

“I want you to understand — a mosque, in the Zeitoun area, was being used as a lab for making weapons,” said an IDF spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. “Terrorists manufacturing rockets in a mosque. Using Islam and the symbols of Islam to create terror.”

Fighting in the Zeitoun neighborhood has been intense in recent days, the IDF said, with hundreds of Hamas terrorists fighting in squads of five to ten men each believed to have been killed. Many of the Hamas fighters were holed up in residential buildings, schools, hospitals and other civilian sites, the IDF said.

“The troops have encountered many dozens of terrorists since the beginning of the fighting in the neighborhood, conducting close-quarters fighting with them, and have so far eliminated many of them,” an IDF spokesman told the Times of Israel.

The army said it expects the fighting in the neighborhood to continue for at least the next three days, after which Hamas infrastructure there will be demolished.

The release of images from the mosque follows the release Sunday of images from the Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest, showing hostages abducted on October 7 being hurried into the building as well as the discovery of a tunnel half the length of a football field equipped with a blast door near the hospital. Israel has held the images up as proof for its long-standing charge that Hamas uses civilian infrastructure and citizens as shields to hide behind when engaging Israeli forces.

“Israel is presenting concrete evidence (literally) of Hamas’ abuse of hospitals for military purposes,” an Israeli government spokesman, Eylon Levy, said on Twitter Monday. “Shifa doctors all saw hostages being manhandled in. They all knew. They all lied.”


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