Israeli military's raid of Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital continues for second day
The Israeli military searched Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital for a second day on Thursday in what it said was a "complex and ongoing" operation.
Driving the news: Thousands of injured and displaced people were sheltering in the hospital, Gaza's largest, when the raid began. Prior to the riad, Israel and the U.S. said, without specifying, that they have evidence that Hamas houses a command center and tunnels under the hospital — a claim the militant group and hospital workers deny.
The latest: The IDF on Wednesday claimed it found "technological assets, along with military and combat equipment" used by Hamas in one of the departments of the hospital and released photos of guns it said were found at the hospital. A Hamas official told Al Jazeera the claims were "a farce."
- On Thursday, the IDF said it found "information and footage pertaining to the hostages abducted from Israel were found on computers and other technological equipment. These have been transferred for further examination and investigation." Hamas has repeatedly said Israel's claims are "ridiculous."
- Later Thursday, the IDF published a video it said showed a tunnel shaft at the hospital.
- Axios has not been able to verify the claims and Israel has so far not shown evidence of a Hamas command center it said was beneath the hospital.
- The White House reiterated on Thursday that it was confident in the intelligence it has on Al-Shifa.
Meanwhile, the director of Al-Shifa hospital told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army took bodies from the facility.
- Muhammad Abu Salmiya also said that hospital teams across different departments are unable to communicate with each other about patients.
- He added that there are 650 patients in the hospital, including 45 who are on dialysis and 36 premature babies.
- "People inside will die if no aid reaches them and many patients in need of urgent medical needs could die if they cannot reach the hospital on time," he said.
Phone and internet companies Jawwal and Paltel said on social media that all telecom services had gone out on Thursday in Gaza because of a lack of fuel.
What they're saying: UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on social media on Wednesday that the "protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns."
- "Hospitals are not battlegrounds," he said, adding that he was "appalled" by reports of the incursion at the hospital.
- The World Health Organization called reports of the incursion "deeply concerning."
The IDF said in announcing its operation that it was "based on intelligence and operational need."
- It added its operation is not intended to harm patients, medical teams or civilians who are sheltering in the hospital.
- "We notified the hospital's management ahead of the entry into the compound," the IDF said.
Zoom out: Just hours before the raid, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that U.S. intelligence indicates Hamas has a command center in Al-Shifa, but stressed that the Biden administration does not want the facility or the civilians taking shelter there to be harmed.
- Hamas accused the Biden administration of effectively greenlighting the operation in its comments on Tuesday.
- Kirby on Wednesday rejected that claim, saying the U.S. did not OK the operation and it does not expect Israel to update it in advance about military operations in Gaza.
The big picture: Israel says the war in Gaza, now in its 41st day, is aimed at "destroying" Hamas and rescuing hostages the militant group abducted during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack. About 1,200 people in Israel were killed during the Hamas attack.
- More than 11,200 Palestinians have been killed amid Israel's bombardment and ground offensive in the enclave, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.
- Health officials say a worsening humanitarian crisis and fuel shortages in the enclave are putting the lives of many more at risk.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.