A day after it took management of the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, the Israeli army on Thursday afternoon was nonetheless looking the location that Israel has stated hid a secret Hamas base, and to bolster its case supplied video of extra weapons it stated it had discovered there and what it described as a tunnel entrance.
The photographs introduced by Israel from the hospital, Al-Shifa, in Gaza Metropolis, couldn’t be independently verified, and nonetheless haven’t confirmed the existence of the sprawling Hamas operation that it stated the hospital hid.
However Israeli officers stated the search was sure to be gradual, citing the bodily difficulties and the dangers. They added that Hamas had loads of warning that Israeli forces have been coming and time to take away proof. In an obvious try and rebuff skepticism of the proof launched to date, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli army, stated Thursday night at a information briefing that troops have been looking the hospitals, constructing by constructing, generally whereas beneath fireplace.
“This can be a advanced exercise that wants time in an effort to most significantly guarantee our forces’ safety, after which operational success,” he stated. “In Shifa, Rantisi, Al-Quds and different hospitals, we’re discovering Hamas exercise aboveground and beneath it. That is no coincidence — that is Hamas’s technique.”
Since invading Gaza 20 days in the past, Israel has introduced Al-Shifa as certainly one of its major targets, saying it sits atop a community of subterranean fortifications put in by Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that managed your entire territory till the invasion started. Hamas and the hospital management have denied the accusations.
The declare that Hamas operated from inside the sprawling hospital advanced has been central to Israel’s protection of the dying toll brought on by its army marketing campaign in Gaza, which has killed greater than 11,000 folks, in line with Gazan well being officers. Israeli officers say that the acute lack of life has been induced partially by Hamas’s determination to cover its army fortifications and command facilities inside civilian infrastructure like Al-Shifa.
One of many movies launched on Thursday by the Israeli army confirmed a white pickup truck on the hospital grounds and, laid out on the bottom close to it, the arsenal the narrator stated had been its contents: computerized rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition magazines, hand grenades and different gear.
One other video exhibits excavated earth and a doorway into an underground passage, which The New York Instances has confirmed is on the northern perimeter of the sprawling hospital advanced. Israeli forces seem to have destroyed a small construction and dug up an in depth space to uncover the opening, an evaluation of satellite tv for pc imagery and video exhibits.
On Wednesday, the army launched video displaying a few dozen weapons, a grenade, protecting vests and army uniforms that it stated troopers had discovered inside an M.R.I. unit on the hospital.
At a information convention in Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, known as that video “a weak and ridiculous narration.” Mr. Hamdan accused Israel of planting the weaponry to indicate a militant presence on the hospital.
Israel’s capacity to show its declare may decide whether or not its international allies proceed to help its army response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel. White Home officers have stated they imagine, based mostly on intelligence gathered independently of Israeli sources, that Hamas used the hospital as a base.
Israel obtained broad worldwide help after the Hamas-led raid killed roughly 1,200 folks, most of them civilians, in line with Israeli officers. However because the Israeli counterattack has dragged on, devastating a lot of Gaza, there have been indicators that allies have been starting to take a extra nuanced place.
The United Nations Safety Council known as on Wednesday for quick, dayslong pauses within the combating to permit extra help to achieve civilians. The USA — a key ally that always vetoes U.N. statements essential of Israel — abstained from voting on the decision, permitting it to cross.
“The occupation resorted to this farce to cowl up the autumn of its alleged story,” Mr. Hamdan added.
He stated Israeli troops had “terrorized the sufferers and detained them in a barbaric method,” and accused them of “destroying the drugs warehouse and disabling the M.R.I. machine.”
On Oct. 27, the day that its forces invaded Gaza, the Israeli army printed a map of the location that urged Hamas was working 4 underground complexes beneath the hospital’s inside medication division, its chest and dialysis division, its M.R.I. division and a relaxation space at its western edge. The map additionally urged that Hamas ran a command heart at or close to the hospital’s outpatient clinic.
The military has not but introduced proof publicly that any of these 5 websites exist. It did say in a press release that troopers had discovered an aboveground command heart within the M.R.I. unit, with out offering additional proof. Hamas dismissed the assertion as “a fabricated story that nobody would imagine.”
A spokesman for the Israeli army, Maj. Nir Dinar, stated that Israel wanted extra time to search out and current proof.
“It takes time as a result of Hamas knew we have been coming, they usually’ve tried to cover proof of their warfare crimes,” Main Dinar stated. “They’ve tousled the scene, they’ve introduced in sand to cowl a few of the flooring, they usually’ve created double partitions.”
Hwaida Saad, Aric Toler and Malachy Browne contributed reporting.