update deskIsrael at War

‘Up to 1,000 terrorists holed up in Shifa Hospital’

"Shifa, or schools and places like that, are our shelters,” a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist tells Israeli interrogators.

The interrogation of Hamas terrorist Bakr Ahmed Bakr Qanita by Israel Defense Forces intelligence, March 26, 2024. Credit: IDF.
The interrogation of Hamas terrorist Bakr Ahmed Bakr Qanita by Israel Defense Forces intelligence, March 26, 2024. Credit: IDF.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate on Tuesday released footage of captured Palestinian terrorists admitting to interrogators that 600 to 1,000 Hamas operatives have been hiding out in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital.

The detainees, identified as Nabeel Rajab Abed Shteivi and Bakr Ahmed Bakr Qanita, were captured during an IDF operation at Shifa launched last week in an attempt to root out a resurgent Hamas presence in the compound, which Israeli forces first captured in mid-November.

“Shifa, or schools and places like that, are our shelters,” says Shteivi, who worked on producing missiles for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He notes that Hamas controls all of Shifa’s buildings, and has a vast presence in the specialist departments.

“You might see someone who doesn’t look like a nurse but is dressed in a nurse’s uniform,” the PIJ terrorist explains.

Qanita, a senior Hamas leader who commanded 143 other terrorists in the Gaza Strip and spent almost a month at Shifa before being captured, tells interrogators from the IDF’s Unit 504 that between 600 and 1,000 operatives were holed up at the hospital at various times.

Hamas uses the hospital’s specialist division as one of its main hubs, he says, confirming Shteivi’s claim, and also uses the management offices.

Hamas terrorists are regrouping at Gaza hospitals, forcing the Israeli military to conduct mop-up operations in them, Channel 12 reported on Monday. The operation at Shifa Hospital has been going on for over a week and is expected to last at least until Wednesday.

According to the IDF, 170 terrorists have been killed in firefights in and around the compound. Another 500 have been detained. Large amounts of weapons have also been confiscated, many of which were hidden among hospital equipment, patients and displaced civilians.

“Hamas hijacked the Shifa Hospital and hides behind the sick and injured, waging war from inside the hospital,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in his regular press briefing on Sunday night.

“The IDF apprehended hundreds of terror suspects with confirmed ties to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, making this one of the most successful operations since the start of the war,” Hagari continued.

Hagari alleged Hamas was destroying the hospital by firing mortars at troops from it, damaging the compound. The terrorist group is also firing at Israeli forces from inside the Shifa emergency room and maternity center and throwing explosive devices from the burn ward, he said.

“Our operation at Shifa Hospital proves once again: Hamas systematically uses hospitals to wage war and consistently uses the people of Gaza as human shields,” concluded the IDF spokesman.

In footage released by the Israel Security Agency on Nov. 26, two Hamas terrorists admitted to using an ambulance to kidnap foreign workers from Israel during the Oct. 7 massacre and take them to Shifa.

On Nov. 20, the ISA released footage of Palestinians confirming to agency interrogators how terrorists hid inside hospitals and dressed as medical personnel.

As far back as 2009, the ISA reported during the Gaza conflict of that year (“Operation Cast Lead”) that Hamas operatives were hiding in the hospital and that the basement had become its headquarters.

In addition to being used to hide Hamas leaders and hostages, the terrorist group is known to have fired rockets, tortured suspected collaborators and hoarded fuel in the hospital compound.

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