November 19, 2023 - 3:55 pm
Updated November 19, 2023 - 4:12 pm
Israel’s army said Sunday it had strong evidence supporting its claims that Hamas terrorists maintain a sprawling command post inside and under Shifa Hospital.
Israel has portrayed the hospital as a key target in its war to end Hamas’ rule in Gaza following the terrorist group’s wide-ranging attack into southern Israel six weeks ago.
The army said it found a 60-yard tunnel about 10 meters under the hospital’s 20-acre complex, which includes several buildings, garages and a plaza. It said the tunnel included a staircase, blast-proof door and a firing hole that could be used by snipers.
The army also said an independent medical report had determined that a female Israeli soldier, Cpl. Noa Marciano, whose body was recovered in Gaza last week, had been killed by Hamas terrorists in the hospital.
Marciano had earlier been injured in an Israeli strike Nov. 9 that killed her captor, according to Israel’s intelligence assessment. The injuries were not life-threatening but she was then killed by a Hamas terrorist in Shifa, the army said.
Israel’s findings included security camera video showing what the military said were two foreign hostages, one Thai and one Nepalese, taken to the hospital following the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.
The United States said Wednesday its own intelligence indicated terrorists have used Shifa and other hospitals — and tunnels beneath them — to support military operations and hold hostages.
Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan dismissed the Israeli military’s announcement but didn’t deny that Gaza has hundreds of miles of tunnels.
Health officials said 31 premature babies in “extremely critical condition” were transferred safely Sunday from Shifa Hospital and will go to Egypt, while over 250 patients with severely infected wounds and other urgent conditions remained.