The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently conducted a raid on the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and found a trove of evidence proving that Hamas has been using Palestinian civilians as human shields by storing weapons and equipment there. The IDF also found a laptop with photos and videos of hostages.
BBC reporters accompanied IDF soldiers to Al-Shifa Hospital and reported on what they saw.
“The masked special forces leading us into the building over debris and broken glass are a sign of how tense the situation still is here. Our presence, just a day after Israel took control of the hospital, speaks volumes about Israel’s motivation to show the world why they are here,” BBC’s Lucy Williamson reported. “In the brightly lit corridors of the MRI unit, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus shows us three small stashes of Kalashnikovs, ammunition, and bullet-proof vests — he says they have found around 15 guns in all, along with some grenades.”
Conricus also showed her military booklets, pamphlets, and a map indicating potential entry and exit routes from the hospital. Conricus explained that evidence shows that Hamas is using hospitals for military purposes.
“[And] we uncovered a lot of computers and other equipment which could really shed light on the current situation, hopefully regarding hostages as well,” he said.
The laptops found there reportedly contain photos and videos of hostages taken to Gaza after their abduction. Additionally, Israeli police shared recently released footage depicting interrogations of Hamas fighters arrested following the October attacks. However, BBC reporters were not allowed to see what was on the laptops.
Conricus says the evidence suggests that Hamas was operating within the hospital “within the last few days.”
“At the end of the day, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he told the BBC. “Hamas aren’t here because they saw we were coming. This is probably what they were forced to leave behind. Our assessment is that there’s much more.”
Israeli Special Operations took control of Al-Shifa Hospital earlier this week. Hamas has long maintained that there was no military presence there. However, U.S. intelligence showed that Hamas was in fact using hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Shifa, “to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages.”
“I can confirm for you that we have information that Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, used some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa, and tunnels underneath them, to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday. “Hamas and the Palestinian — Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PIJ, members operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City. They have stored weapons there, and they’re prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility.”
After the IDF raid on the hospital, Conricus conducted a seven-minute tour of the hospital, showing how Hamas kept military equipment and ammunition hidden in the hospital.