Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a video Wednesday showing what it said were weapons in a Hamas-run hospital inside the Gaza Strip amid international criticism that Israel has targeted medical facilities in its war with the terror group.
Israel, as well as many experts, have long said that Hamas uses hospitals as command centers and ammunition depots to conceal its military operations, putting civilians in harm’s way with little regard for their safety.
The IDF video shows Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus walking through an MRI center of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza after Israeli forces raided the building.
‘A few of the most interesting things that we found totally confirms, without any doubt, that Hamas systematically uses hospitals in their military operations, in violation of international law,’ he said.
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As Conricus walked through the hospital, he pointed out various weapon caches found hidden inside. Behind an MRI machine was military equipment, including an AK-47 rifle, ammunition, magazines, grenades and military uniforms, he said. Also, found was a backpack with military intelligence, he said.
More of the same was found in another MRI room. In other parts of the facility, troops found more rifles and ammunition inside a closet.
‘These weapons have absolutely no business being inside a hospital,’ Conricus said. ‘The only reason they’re here is because Hamas put them here, because they use this place like many other hospitals and ambulances and sensitive facilities inside the Gaza Strip for their illicit military purposes.’
In a bag found in another room, authorities found food, military gear, ammo magazines and an AK-47 rifle. In a cabinet that stores medical equipment, troops found another bag with Hamas military insignia and a ballistic vest.
Laptops and other electronic devices were also seized.
The Shifa Hospital has taken in thousands of displaced Gazans since the current military conflict with Israel began last month. Israeli officials claim that the facility is being used as cover by Hamas terrorists and that the group has set up its main command center underneath the building.
On Tuesday, John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said that intelligence supports Israel’s claims about Hamas activities in hospitals.
‘I can confirm for you that 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,’ Kirby told reporters on Air Force One.
The remarks came as Israel comes under criticism for attacks on or near hospitals in Gaza amid its response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli border communities that killed around 1,400 people, many of them civilians.