Israel Releases Evidence of Hamas’ Use of Gaza Hospitals, Tunnels To Shield Its Fighters From Airstrikes, Hide Hostages
Video from hospital security cameras shows what appears to be a struggling hostage being hustled into the hospital by several men in civilian clothing on October 7.
After weeks of being accused of exaggerating claims about Hamas terrorists’ use of hospitals at Gaza for military purposes, the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday released videos of what it said was evidence of an extensive network of fortified tunnels beneath the strip’s largest hospital, the Shifa hospital, used by Hamas to hide hostages and escape Israeli airstrikes.
The IDF also published photos from the hospital surveillance system purporting to show hostages being brought into the complex on October 7. The video of the tunnels shows a camera device being sent down a dark shaft from a location adjacent to the Shifa hospital. Israel says the camera had to be lowered more than 10 meters to reach the floor of the tunnel.
At the bottom of the shaft, the camera is moved around a corner within the tunnel, showcasing the structure’s circuitous route that ultimately leads to a long hallway. The hallway ends at what appears to be a blast-proof door with a gun firing hole, a structure the IDF states would block forces from entering.
The video from the hospital security cameras shows what appears to be a struggling hostage being hustled into the hospital by several men in civilian clothing as well as a man stripped to his underwear on a gurney. He is missing a leg and is grasping a large, bloodied wound on his stomach. The IDF said the hostages shown are citizens of Nepal and Thailand.
“These findings prove that the Hamas terrorist organization used the Shifa Hospital complex on the day of the massacre as terrorist infrastructure,” the IDF said in a statement accompanying the videos. “These findings add to previous evidence presented regarding Hamas’ use of the hospital area as infrastructure for its terrorist activities in a systematic and ongoing manner.”
An IDF spokesman, Daniel Hagari, told Israeli press outlets that soldiers also found the body of 19-year-old Noa Marciano at the hospital. A pathology report, he said, contradicts an earlier Hamas claim that she was killed in an Israeli airstrike. “Noa was taken by Hamas terrorists to Al-Shifa Hospital and murdered by a Hamas terrorist,” he said. “A hospital, a place that is supposed to value life, was used to murder.”
He added that “Intelligence shows that additional hostages were in the hospital at different times.”
Within the Al Shifa hospital, weaponry — including kalashnikovs and rocket propelled grenades — also was found in a series of rooms at the facility’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility.
Another hospital in Northern Gaza which the Israeli military raided, the Rantisi hospital, was found to have been used to hide Israeli captives, with evidence of makeshift bathrooms and video studio, chairs with restraints on them, and a calendar that starts the day of the terror attack in the basement of the hospital.
On Sunday, a senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, said that, “there needs to be more transparency” surrounding the allegations of Hamas’ use of hospitals. “Both Israel and the United States need to release more of this intelligence,” he says.
“There is reliable intelligence that can and should be released without compromising sources and methods that would bolster Israel’s case in the court of world opinion, and would also support the United States aiding Israel as it must do,” Mr. Blumenthal said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
As Israeli forces continue advancing into the depths of Gaza City, they have begun clearing Hamas’ elaborate tunnel structure, which is suspected of holding much of the terror group’s weaponry along with some 230 hostages kidnapped on October 7.
A video of a network of tunnels destroyed at Beit Hanoun, published on Sunday, shows cascading explosions throughout the entire city block within the frame of the camera, revealing the extent of the tunnel’s lengths.
Despite the evidence, questions have been raised on whether the most significant of Hamas assets still remain below ground Gaza City. A former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, stated on Friday that Khan Yunis, located within the area where Israelis were directing Gazans to flee to, now houses the leadership and hostages of the terror group.
“Khan Yunis, which is in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, is the real headquarters of Hamas,” the former premier told Euronews. “There they have the leadership, they are hiding, they have the bunkers, they have the command positions, they have the launching pads.”
Expectations are growing that Israeli military operations could shift to the south. In recent weeks, the Israeli military dropped leaflets in East Khan Yunis requesting people evacuate to shelters for their own safety.