Israeli Special Operations Forces launched their attack on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza at dawn, Tel Aviv Time, on Wednesday.
Al-Shifa Hospital has been the subject of much debate over the past few days as Israel tightened its cordon around Hamas strongholds in North Gaza.
Hospitals in Gaza have been forced to stop operating as Israeli forces advance deep into the enclave and severely restrict supplies of fuel, water and food to the besieged territory.
— Financial Times (@FT) November 14, 2023
It is believed that many of the hostages taken on October 8 are being held in Hamas’s fortifications, underground tunnels, and hospitals.
Israel, and other nations, concluded that Al-Shifa Hospital was a Hamas-run underground facility.
On Tuesday, the White House said that it had intelligence indicating Hamas was using hospitals in Gaza such as Al-Shifa Hospital to “conceal and support their military operations and to hold prisoners.”
John Kirby made the announcement on Air Force One, as President Joe Biden traveled to the APEC Summit in San Francisco.
For the first time, the U.S. has revealed specific intelligence about how and where Hamas held Israelis and Americans as hostages when it attacked Israel.
He told reporters that he could confirm: “I have information that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip used tunnels below them and hospitals to support and hide their military activities, and to hold prisoners. ”
Israelis warned the hospital staff about an imminent attack.
“Urgent: The Israeli army calls Dr. Munir Al-Bursh, Director of the Ministry of Health, to inform him that special forces stormed Al-Shifa Hospital” https://t.co/iN7AOPzCay
— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) November 14, 2023
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) November 14, 2023
The hospital director and staff may have received separate notifications to avoid accidental martyrdom.
Hamas is the only group that confirmed this warning. A Hamas commander in the hospital, a civilian facility, sent a text message to a journalist, alerting him to an impending attack.
Senior Hamas official texted me:
“In a few minutes, the hospital (al-Shifa) will be stormed, according to the Israeli occupation’s official notification.”
We’ve not yet received any info from the Israeli army indicating that a raid is imminent.
I’ll update as I get more.
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 14, 2023
Egyptian medical staff evacuated critical patients before the attack using IDF equipment.
Egypt will take the 36 premature babies in the Al-Shifa hospital into custody using IDF-provided incubators. They will be provided with medical care on Egyptian territory. This deal was reached in talks between the head of the Shin Beit and Egyptian officials yesterday.
— Shaiel Ben-Ephraim (@academic_la) November 15, 2023
Contrary to what is said about Israel in the media, Israel follows the Geneva Conventions which are intended to reduce the risks of harming civilians.
Al-Shifa is a sprawling Israeli complex built in the early 1980s. This hospital had underground operating rooms and was equipped with a tunnel network.
This is one of the many reasons that Israeli security sources believe there is a Hamas main command bunker under or near the large cement cellar beneath the area of Building 2 at Shifa Hospital. It is for this reason that Israeli security officials believe there is an underground Hamas command bunker beneath or near the large concrete cellar under the area of Building 2 of the Hospital. The building is closed to reporters.
Buildings with red soon to be verified pic.twitter.com/5TGSPaDcHa
— Isik Mater (@isik5) November 15, 2023
— Saif Al Muthanna . 𐩪𐩺𐩰|𐩱𐩡𐩣ُ𐩻𐩬𐩱 (@sshiaab) November 15, 2023
We’ll keep you updated as more information is available.