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Update: Operation Swords of Iron

IDF: Hamas’s terror command center built under Gaza’s main hospital

The Israeli military shares detailed information on how Hamas has turned hospitals into terror command centers and hideouts.

Hamas has systematically turned hospitals in the Gaza Strip into terror command centers and hideouts, the Israel Defense Forces said on Friday, as volleys of rockets fired by Hamas targeted central and southern Israel.

Four people were injured in a direct rocket strike on a residential building in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, ranging from moderate to light injuries. Half an hour after that attack, central Israel was again targeted by rockets.

According to IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military is affixing a red flag to the world about Hamas’s war crime of using hospitals in Gaza as human shields and revealed intelligence for that purpose.

“Hamas has turned hospitals into command-and-control centers, and hideouts for terrorists and commanders,” he stated. “According to intelligence in our hands, there is fuel in hospitals in Gaza, and Hamas is using it for its terror infrastructure.”

The IDF shared this information and more with intelligence agencies from allied countries, he said.

Addressing Shifa Hospital in Gaza City—the largest in the Strip, with more than 1,500 beds, 4,000 staff and people arriving in recent weeks around the hospital grounds—Hamas is “cynically using” such places as a “shield for its underground terror complex,” said Hagari.

The Gazan network of underground combat tunnels, dubbed “the metro” by the IDF, is often placed right next to sensitive sites like hospitals, mosques, schools and UNRWA sites as part of a deliberate doctrine by Hamas to limit IDF airstrikes.

Pointing to a map of the Shifa Hospital, Hagari said that Hamas conducts its command and control out of places like the X-ray room for terror activities like launching rockets.

“It is here in Shifa Hospital where Hamas operates its command-and-control cells. Hamas terrorists operate inside and under Shifa Hospital, with a network of terror tunnels. It also has an entrance to the tunnels from different places in the hospital,” said Hagari. “Right now, terrorists move freely at Shifa Hospital.”

‘Hamas’s use of hospitals is systematic’

Hundreds of terrorists flooded the Shifa hospital after the Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis by Hamas, stated Hagari.

“Hamas not only endangers the lives of Israeli civilians but also exploits the lives of innocent Gazans as human shields. Hamas’s use of hospitals is systematic. They do so precisely because they know Israel distinguishes between terrorists and civilians,” he said. “We already exposed that Hamas stole fuel from UNRWA—and UNRWA confirmed it.”

He was referring to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East.

Hagari played an audio recording between an IDF officer and a senior Gazan energy official, who stated that Hamas uses very large quantities of fuel for its underground tunnel activities, in addition to oxygen and electricity.

When medical facilities are used like this, they are liable to lose protection under international law, Hagari warned.

Gaza hospital
Hamas headquarters hidden under Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip, Oct. 27, 2023. Credit: IDF.

“For over two weeks, the IDF has called and continues to call the civilians of northern Gaza and Gaza City to temporarily move south for their own safety,” he stressed. “We continue to back efforts by Egypt and the United States to get food medicine and water to south Gaza. We will increase this humanitarian effort.”

Terror targets struck, Palestinian commander killed

Meanwhile, in recent hours, the IDF conducted a ground raid in the Gaza Strip and struck dozens of terror targets belonging to Hamas, it said.

IDF ground forces, accompanied by Israeli Air Force fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), conducted the raid in the central Gaza Strip early on Friday.

As part of the activity, IDF aircraft and artillery struck terror targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Shuja’iyya area and throughout the Gaza Strip, the military said.

The troops exited the area at the end of the activity. No IDF injuries were reported.

During the activity, the IDF identified and struck numerous terror targets, including anti-tank missile launch sites, military command-and-control centers, as well as Hamas terrorists themselves.

Overnight on Friday, the IDF killed Madhath Mubashar, commander of the Western Khan Yunis Battalion of the Hamas terrorist organization. Madhath took part in explosives and sniper attacks against Israeli civilian communities and IDF soldiers, the military said in a statement.

Israeli fighter jets struck more than 250 military targets belonging to Hamas on Thursday and Friday. These included tunnels, dozens of Hamas operatives, operational command centers and rocket-launch sites.

In addition, an Israeli UAV fell in the Gaza Strip as a result of a technical malfunction. There is no risk of an information breach, and the incident is under review, said the military.

Strike towards Israel from ‘Red Sea area’

Meanwhile, Israeli Navy personnel from the elite Flotilla 13 commando unit conducted a targeted raid from the sea in the southern Gaza Strip. During the activity, the soldiers struck Hamas military infrastructure and operated in a compound used by Hamas’s commando naval forces, said the military.

Israeli Navy vessels and aircraft took part in the raid.

Outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which Hamas is using as a terrorist base. putting civilians in harm’s way, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

In the north on Friday, terrorists carried out a shooting from Lebanon towards an IDF post near the communities of Avivim and Kibbutz Misgav Am in northern Israel. No injuries were reported. IDF tanks and artillery returned fire at the source of the fire.

On Friday morning, a strike in the resort town of Taba in the Sinai Peninsula originated from “the Red Sea area,” according to an Israeli military official, in an apparent reference to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Arabic-language media cited an Egyptian military source as saying the blast that lightly wounded six people was caused by a drone.

Taba is located along the border with Israel, some six miles from the southernmost city of Eilat.

Last week, the USS Carney, a U.S. Navy destroyer, shot down missiles and drones from Yemen that could have been aimed at Israel, the Pentagon said.

Early on Friday, after 14 attacks by militias backed by Iran on U.S. military targets in Syria and Iraq over the past 10 days, the United States launched a series of airstrikes on munitions storage sites in Syria affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.

“The strikes took place at roughly 4:30 a.m. on Friday in Syria near Al Bukamal, a Syrian town on the border with Iraq, and were carried out by two F-16 fighter jets using precision munitions,” Reuters quoted a U.S. official as saying.

One of the sites struck is the Al-Bukamal area, which, according to the Alma Center, a defense research group in Israel, is heavily involved is operated almost exclusively by associates of the radical Shiite axis led by Iran. On the Iraqi side of the border, in the Al-Anbar province, those leading the smuggling are the Iraqi Hezbollah militias. The site is used to smuggle weapons and terrorists along the Iranian-run trafficking corridor.

Meanwhile, within Israel, the Israel Police announced that it arrested more than 100 suspects and charged 24 of them since the start of the war over incitement to violence and terrorism.

Police also removed 300-plus posts encouraging violence, incitement and affiliation with terrorism, with 146 of them leading to investigations.

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