update deskIsrael at War

IDF soldier, top terrorist killed in raid on Gaza’s Shifa Hospital

Eighty terrorists were arrested during the raid, as IDF releases audio warning that Hamas was once using the facility to wage war.

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.

An Israeli soldier was killed during a firefight at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Monday, in part of a targeted raid against Hamas operatives embedded there that also resulted in the elimination of a top terrorist.

The Israel Defense Forces named the slain soldier as Staff Sgt. Matan Vinogradov, 20, from Jerusalem. He is the 250th soldier killed in action since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 and the 593rd on all fronts since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

The IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) began the operation at Shifa early Monday after intelligence indicated that Hamas terrorists were active there.

In a joint statement on Monday afternoon, the IDF and ISA announced that during the operation, troops killed Faiq Mabhuoch, head of the Operations Directorate of Hamas’ Internal Security. He was also responsible for coordinating terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip.

“Faiq Mabhouh was eliminated in an encounter with the troops while armed and hiding in a compound at the Shifa Hospital, from which he operated and advanced terrorist activity. Numerous weapons were located in the room adjacent to where he was eliminated,” according to the statement.

Some 80 terrorists were arrested during the operation, and Israeli special forces took full control of the hospital compound. Another soldier was lightly wounded during the raid.

Hamas forces fired on Israeli troops from within the hospital, according to the army. The terrorists used patients at the hospital as human shields.

“The IDF began the operation following established intelligence that required immediate action. We know that senior Hamas terrorists have regrouped inside Shifa Hospital and are commanding operations against Israel from there,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Monday morning.

“Our focused activity is not only an operational necessity, it is a global imperative. …We call on all Hamas terrorists hiding in hospitals to surrender immediately. It is forbidden to use medical facilities for terrorist purposes; Hamas must be held accountable,” he added.

Gaza medical officials were advised of the pending operation. The military released a recording of a conversation in recent days between the head of the IDF Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza and the director of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, in which the Israeli official can be heard warning that Hamas forces were active at the hospital and that the IDF would need to take action.

In late November, the Israel Defense Forces released extensive video evidence of Hamas tunnels under Shifa Hospital—the Gaza Strip’s largest medical facility—saying it “unequivocally” proved the modus operandi of Hamas, “which systematically operates from hospitals.”

The terrorist group held at least three of the 253 hostages it kidnapped on Oct. 7 at Shifa, according to the IDF.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said in early January that the American government was convinced that Hamas used the hospital complex to direct terrorist forces, store weapons and hold “at least a few hostages.”

The official also said U.S. spy agencies had information that Hamas destroyed evidence before the IDF operation at the hospital got underway.

A U.S. official expressed confidence in the intelligence assessment as it was based on information gathered independently by both Israel and American agencies.

In November, the IDF recovered the body of Cpl. Noa Marciano, who was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, in a building adjacent to Shifa Hospital. Also found next to the hospital was the corpse of another hostage, Yehudit Weiss.

Israeli forces arrested the hospital’s director, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, on Dec. 23.

“In the hospital, under his management, there was extensive Hamas terrorist activity. Findings of his involvement in terrorist activity will determine whether he will be subject to further ISA [Israel Security Agency] questioning,” the IDF said in a statement.

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