Israel unveiled disturbing footage on Sunday, claiming it depicted Hamas terrorists using two hospitals in Gaza City. They pledged to encircle the enclave within 48 hours and initiate ground combat.
Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari presented videos to reporters that he said revealed Hamas agents using an underground entrance tunnel at the Sheikh Hamad Hospital — and also opening fire at Israeli forces from the medical center.
“If it weren’t enough that we exposed a tunnel under the hospital, the terrorists also shot at our soldiers from within the hospital,” Hagari said.
The IDF spokesman said Israel also uncovered a tunnel network under the Indonesian Hospital, as well as rocket launchers stationed near the building.
“Hamas systematically built the Indonesian Hospital to disguise its underground terror infrastructure,” Hagari alleged while producing a military aerial shot of the complex.
He also presented recordings of Hamas officials allegedly discussing their use of fuel reserves that belong to the hospital.
VIDEO AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE!
Humanitarian organizations caution that essential fuel for civilians, crucial for medical facilities and water pumps throughout Gaza, is running critically low.
The IDF videos come after Israel garnered condemnation from humanitarian groups for airstrikes near hospitals where tens of thousands of Palestinians are being treated and taking shelter.
The IDF has claimed that Hamas’ 300-mile-long tunnel network runs underneath hospitals — accusing the terrorists of hiding behind wounded Palestinians.
The Israeli military declared its intent to encircle Gaza City entirely within 48 hours and start a ground invasion. But it said Israeli soldiers would avoid entering the tunnel system, under the assumption that its passageways are booby-trapped.
The current invasion plan will see the IDF encircle Gaza and advance with caution, systematically clearing areas and wiping Hamas off the map in an occupation that will last for a number of months to a year or even more, officials said.
The tunnels will be dealt with at a later stage in the invasion, but entrances may be hit with airstrikes should intelligence dictate that as necessary, Israel said.
Although the IDF hasn’t directed its soldiers to conduct a direct assault on hospitals, such as Shifa Hospital where senior Hamas members are suspected to be seeking refuge, Israeli officials, as reported by Haaretz, have not dismissed the possibility of employing military force in those areas.
The Israeli Air Force has dropped more than 1.5 million fliers in northern Gaza and made more than 20,000 calls to urge Palestinians to evacuate ahead of the Gaza City invasion, Hagari said.
“Our war is with Hamas, not the civilians in Gaza. We will not accept Hamas’s cynical use of hospitals to hide their terror infrastructure,” Hagari stated. “Hamas’s exploitation of hospitals must come to an end.”
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