The Israeli army showed a Hamas base allegedly located under a hospital in Gaza: Palestinians deny this - ForumDaily
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The Israeli army showed a Hamas base allegedly located under a hospital in Gaza: Palestinians deny it

On November 13, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) displayed weapons and explosives in one of the rooms located under Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital. The Israeli military claims parts of the basement were a Hamas "command and control center" and may have been used to hold hostages, reports CNN.

Photo: IStock

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari called the basements an "arsenal." Gaza health officials deny the accusations.

Khagary also showed reporters a chair with a rope next to it, a piece of women's clothing that he said would be tested for DNA, and a makeshift toilet.

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Hagari added that a team of forensic experts will soon examine all materials left in the basements to confirm any potential link to the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas in Israel on October 7.

Hamas has repeatedly denied that its fighters are hiding under hospitals, as have Gaza health officials and hospital directors.
Mohammed Zarkout, who is in charge of all Gaza hospitals, said the al-Rantisi basement was used as a shelter for women and children - not for storing Hamas weapons or holding hostages. He added that the basement was used as a pharmacy and some of the hospital's administrative offices.

Zarkut also reported that medical staff were forced to leave the hospital by order of Israeli soldiers and were unable to take all the patients with them when they left.

On November 10, the IDF said it had authorized a pedestrian crossing and ambulances for evacuations from three hospitals: Al-Shifa, Al-Rantisi and Nasser Hospital. Hospitals are now becoming targets of military action. Doctors warn they cannot evacuate their most vulnerable patients.

The IDF is also working to determine whether there is a connection between the entrance to a nearby tunnel and the premises below the hospital. Journalists were shown a mine about 200 meters from al-Rantisi, which Hagari said was located next to the home of a Hamas commander as well as a school.

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According to him, the wires leading into the mine provided power to the tunnel from solar panels mounted on the roof of the Hamas commander's house.

“We placed the robot inside the tunnel, and the robot saw a massive door, a door leading towards the hospital,” Hagari said.

“The tunnel they call the Hamas tunnel is actually an assembly point for electrical wires. We raised the wires to prevent electrocution caused by flooding due to rains,” Zarkut said.

Siege of fortresses

The journalists witnessed massive destruction on their way through Gaza as they were taken to Al Rantisi Hospital. Countless buildings, apartment buildings, hotels and villas were destroyed. Holes from bullets and shells were visible everywhere, and firefights continued.

Medical staff still working in hospitals compare their situation to a siege.

Although hospitals are protected in times of war under international humanitarian law, this protection may be compromised if they are considered to be targets of military activity. The World Health Organization has recorded at least 137 attacks on health facilities in Gaza, which it said killed 521 people and injured 686 others.

Other protected sites such as schools, civilian housing and United Nations sites have already been damaged or destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. On November 11, the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees announced that more than 100 UN staff had been killed in the Gaza Strip since the fighting began, the most in UN history.

Israeli troops are trying to root out Hamas, drawing criticism from global health organizations and aid groups. A joint statement by the regional directors of UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Health Organization on November 10 called for "urgent international action to end the ongoing attacks on hospitals in the Gaza Strip."

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“We are horrified by recent reports of attacks on Al Shifa Hospital and its surrounding area, Al Rantissi Nasser Children's Hospital, Al Quds Hospital and other hospitals in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip. The attacks killed many people, including children. Intense fighting around several hospitals in northern Gaza is preventing safe access for medical personnel, wounded people and other patients,” the statement said.

Doctors still refuse to leave Al Shifa, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, because they fear hundreds of patients will die if they leave them. Israel claims that a Hamas center is hidden in the basement there, but hospital officials and Hamas deny this claim.

The hospital is believed to be sheltering thousands of civilians and treating about 700 at-risk patients, according to Dr. Munir al-Bursh, director general of the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza.

“The problem is not the doctors, but the patients,” Al-Bourish said on November 11. “If they are left behind, they will die, and if they are transferred, they will die on the way, that’s the problem.”

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