In a recent development, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) initiated a targeted operation within Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, claiming it to be a strategic move against Hamas militants. The IDF accuses Hamas of using the hospital, currently sheltering thousands, including babies and the injured, as their commanding center.
On Wednesday, the IDF launched the operation, emphasizing its precision and the inclusion of medical teams and Arabic speakers trained for the complex and sensitive environment. Dr. Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the Gaza health ministry, reported the western side of the medical complex being raided, with explosions and dust entering the areas.
Hamas denies allegations of using Al Shifa as a command center, dismissing Israel’s claims of tunnels and military operations beneath the hospital. The IDF, citing intelligence information and operational necessity, justifies its actions, aiming to minimize harm to civilians.
Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner referred to the hospital as a central hub for Hamas operations, suggesting it as the beating heart and possibly the center of gravity. Notably, since 2009, the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) reported Hamas operatives hiding in the hospital during the Gaza war, designating the basement as Hamas’s headquarters.
Apart from accusations of hiding leaders and hostages, Hamas has been implicated in launching rockets, torturing suspected collaborators, and hoarding a significant amount of fuel within the hospital compound. The situation remains tense as conflicting narratives emerge from both sides, raising concerns about the impact on civilian lives amid the ongoing hostilities.