Israel: Hamas terror group’s main operations base is under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

File: Palestinian doctors and medics walk inside the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
File: Palestinian doctors and medics walk inside the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

In a briefing for reporters of international media outlets, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the Hamas terror group’s main base of operations is under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Hagari says that Hamas has several underground complexes under Shifa — the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip — which are used by the terror group’s leaders to direct attacks against Israel.

He notes: “We have concrete evidence that hundreds of terrorists flooded into the hospital to hide there after the massacres of October 7.”

He says 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 adds that there is also an entrance to the underground complex from within one of the wards.

“Hamas terrorists operate inside and under Shifa hospital — and other hospitals in Gaza — with a network of terror tunnels,” he says. “Shifa is not the only hospital — it is one of many. Hamas use of hospitals is systematic.”

Additionally, according to the IDF, Hamas’s internal security has a command center inside Shifa Hospital, from which it directs rocket fire on Israel and stores weapons.

Hagari accuses Hamas of using the hospital — with 1,500 beds and some 4,000 staff — as human shields.

“Hamas uses Shifa hospital as a shield for Hamas terror infrastructure,” Hagari says. “Hamas wages war from hospitals. By operating from these hospitals, Hamas not only endangers the lives of Israeli civilians; but also exploits innocent Gazan civilians.

“Hamas terrorists operate inside hospitals precisely because they know that the IDF distinguishes between terrorists and civilians.”

He says that the hospital’s energy infrastructure is also used by Hamas’s underground base.

He says 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. He says the intel has already been provided to allies.

And he warns: “When medical facilities are used for terror purposes, they are liable to lose their protection from attack in accordance with international law.”

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