update deskIsrael at War

IDF finds hostage photos on laptops at Shifa Hospital

"We uncovered a lot of equipment that can shed light on the current situation, hopefully also regarding the hostages," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.

Israeli special forces conduct searches at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli special forces conduct searches at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Israeli forces found photos of hostages captured by Hamas on Oct. 7 during its ongoing operation in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday.

One laptop found at the hospital had as a wallpaper a publicly available image of Pvt. Ori Megidish from before she was taken to the Gaza Strip.

Megidish was among as many as 240 people taken hostage by Hamas during the terrorist group’s cross-border invasion, which left at least 1,200 people dead and thousands wounded.

The soldier was freed by IDF special forces late last month. Though other members of her unit were also taken hostage, Megidish is believed to have been held alone.

The IDF added that its latest discovery proves a connection between Hamas activity in Shifa Hospital and the hostages, as well as “new findings” pointing towards a network of terror tunnels under the medical complex.

It says it is investigating computers and other devices that were found in the Hamas base.

Earlier on Thursday, IDF International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus mistakenly told a BBC reporting team accompanying soldiers during their targeted raids inside the medical complex that photos and videos taken of some of the hostages after they were taken to Gaza were found on laptop computers.

“We uncovered a lot of equipment that can shed light on the current situation, hopefully also regarding the hostages,” said Conricus.

Dr. Muhammad Abu-Salamiyyah, director of Shifa, told Al Jazeera that “the IDF forces collected bodies from the hospital.”

The IDF said on Thursday that the air force’s elite Shaldag commando unit and soldiers from the 36th Armored Division continue to operate in the Shifa Hospital complex, and that the operations are “focused” as special forces carefully move from building to building, scanning each floor.

Patients and staff are still in the hospital as the soldiers operate with “discretion, patience and thoroughness,” said the IDF. “We operate with the understanding that there is much more terror infrastructure in the area of the complex that is well hidden.”

No hospital staff or soldiers have been injured during the operation, according to the military.

Troops entered Shifa overnight on Tuesday to conduct what the military said was a precision operation against Hamas, which is headquartered in a vast tunnel system underneath the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital.

IDF troops have found weapons, military technology and intelligence information in the compound.

An operational command center, weapons and technological assets were found in the hospital’s MRI building and the material is undergoing Israeli intelligence analysis, according to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesman.

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