The White House said on Tuesday that a “variety” of U.S. intelligence sources confirm Israeli claims that Hamas is using Al Shifa Hospital and other medical centers in the Gaza Strip to run its terror operations.
“We have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al Shifa, and tunnels underneath them to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages,” U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to Reuters.
“That is a war crime,” said Kirby, adding that Washington does not support airstrikes against terror bases located in or under hospitals.
The IDF previously provided evidence that Hamas uses Shifa and other Gaza hospitals for its operational activities, which are conducted in a massive tunnel system underneath the complexes.
The patients at these hospitals are used as human shields and to hide Hamas’s activities.
Hospitals will likely be evacuated
On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces released a six-minute video exposing tactics use by Hamas in Gaza. In the recording, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari walks through a covert underground tunnel, with blast-free doors, connected to Rantisi Hospital.
It is one of many spider-web-like tunnels used by Hamas operatives to hide, prepare for attacks, and, in this case, imprison Israeli hostages it took captive on Oct. 7 in its murder spree across the southern border with Israel.
Also on Monday, the IDF announced that its forces killed 21 terrorists after a squad embedded with civilians and fired rocket-propelled grenades and an anti-tank missile at them from the entrance to Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City.
Soldiers identified the terror squad among civilians carrying two RPG launchers and fired at them. During the exchange of fire, civilians left the hospital building, and other terrorists who came out of buildings in the area joined the attempted attack.
Forces from the 188th Armored Brigade combat team responded with live fire and shelling towards the source of the shooting, killing 21 terrorists. No casualties to Israeli forces were reported.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. (res.) Peter Lerner has said that hospitals will likely have to be evacuated in order to go after Hamas in totality.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS‘s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the White House has conveyed to Jerusalem that its military should try to avoid armed combat near hospitals in Gaza.
“The United States does not want to see firefights in hospitals, where innocent people, patients receiving medical care, are caught in the crossfire, and we’ve had active consultations with the Israeli Defense Forces on this,” Sullivan stated.