“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command center. And suicide vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosives, rocket launchers and other weapons,” Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said at a news conference.
“Hamas is hiding in hospitals. Today we will show that to the world,” the spokesman said, showing a video of Hamas equipment that Israel said was hidden in a basement beneath the hospital. The armed forces also shared a photo allegedly showing weapons found.
According to Hagari, the Israeli army also found baby bottles, a makeshift toilet and a small kitchen in the basement, suggesting Hamas was holding hostages there. Further research must reveal whether this was indeed the case.
“In addition, we found evidence that Hamas terrorists returned from the October 7 massacre to this hospital, among others, after massacring Israelis in their homes,” Hagari said.
Israel accuses Hamas of using patients as “living shields” by building shelters under hospitals.
Also Al Shifa and Al Quds
Israeli troops have also advanced to the major Al Shifa hospital in the densely populated coastal area. There is also an underground Hamas base there, Israel says.
Fighting also broke out in the Al Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday. According to the Israeli army, approximately 21 Hamas militants were killed. The Israeli army suffered no casualties. One tank was damaged.
Israeli soldiers were shot at by militants with two bazookas and smaller weapons from the entrance of the hospital in the Gaza city, the army said on Monday. The attackers had mixed with a group of civilians.
The soldiers returned fire and were also supported by the air force, the army said. Other militants had emerged from neighboring buildings, also mingled with civilians and shot at the soldiers. The attackers with the bazookas hid in the hospital again after the shelling.
“This incident is yet another example of Hamas’ continued abuse of civilian structures, including hospitals, to carry out attacks,” the military said.
The 700-bed hospital is the main hospital complex in the Gaza Strip and provides emergency and surgical care. Israel accuses Hamas of misusing the hospital as a command and control center.
Hamas has denied that it is building command posts under hospitals.
The fighting at medical facilities is causing international concern. There are also many civilians there. US President Joe Biden called on Israel to protect Al Shifa Hospital. According to health authorities, 34 people have already died there due to the power outage, including 7 premature babies.
“Hamas has lost control in Gaza”
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday that Israel has “stepped up” attacks on Hamas tunnels in recent days. As the Israeli forces advance, Hamas has lost control in Gaza and the Palestinian extremist organization’s militants are fleeing south, according to Gallant.
Israeli troops are also said to have captured the parliament buildings in Gaza City. A photo circulating on social media Monday evening showed Golani infantry soldiers waving Israeli flags in the meeting room of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Rimal neighborhood. The parliament building in Gaza was only used by Hamas elected officials.