Israeli troops have entered Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, culminating a prolonged siege that has drawn global attention and concerns.
Sources within the hospital told Reuters that Israeli soldiers conducted thorough searches throughout the facility.
While intermittent gunfire has been heard, no injuries have been reported within the hospital’s premises thus far.
Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, announced that a focused operation targeting Hamas is in progress, specifically within a distinct section of the Al-Shifa Hospital.
Hagari emphasized the IDF’s conflict is exclusively against Hamas and said its forces are adequately trained for such sensitive missions.
“A precise and targeted operation is being carried out against Hamas in a very specific area of the Shifa Hospital. We have soldiers trained specifically for this situation, and continue to reiterate we are ONLY at war with Hamas. We continue to do everything in our power to,” said the IDF in a statement.
The director general overseeing Gaza hospitals acknowledged that Israeli soldiers entered the lower levels of the surgery building in the Al-Shifa complex during their operation.
An anonymous senior military official cited by The Times of Israel said the IDF has acquired definitive proof of Hamas using Al-Shifa Hospital as a strategic command point. Al Jazeera reports that Hamas and hospital officials have vehemently denied these claims.
Qatar is working to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas, aiming to secure the release of approximately 50 civilian hostages in return for a three-day ceasefire, Reuters reported, citing an official briefed on the negotiations.
As part of the proposed agreement, Israel would consider releasing Palestinian women and children detained in its prisons.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated his critique of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Erdogan branded Israel a “terrorist state” and accused it of executing a strategy to decimate Gaza and its population, according to the Times of Israel.
“Hamas members are resistance fighters who are trying to protect their homeland and their lives,” said Erdogan in a statement.
U.S. President Joe Biden has pleaded to Netanyahu for the protection of the hospital in Gaza in protection of the patients.
The hospital is currently without power and water to help its patients.
“They have tunnels underneath these hospitals. And so Hamas and PIJ members operate a command-and-control node from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. They have weapons stored there and are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against the facility,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh in a press conference telling reporters.
The U.S. relied on intercepts of Hamas’ militant activities operating within the hospital.
Produced in association with Benzinga