Israel released chilling footage on Sunday showing what it said were Hamas terrorists operating from two hospitals around Gaza City – as it vowed to besiege the Strip within 48 hours and begin street fighting.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari provided videos to journalists that he said revealed Hamas operatives using an underground entrance tunnel at Sheikh Hamad Hospital — as well as opening fire on Israeli forces from the medical center. The Times of Israel reported.
Hajjari said: “If it was not enough to expose a tunnel under the hospital, the terrorists also opened fire on our soldiers from inside the hospital.”
The Israeli army spokesman said that Israel also uncovered a network of tunnels under the Indonesian hospital, in addition to missile launch pads stationed near the building.
“Hamas systematically built the Indonesian hospital to hide its underground terrorist infrastructure,” Hajari claimed while producing a military aerial shot of the complex.
He also showed recordings of Hamas officials discussing their use of the hospital’s fuel reserves.
Humanitarian organizations have warned that medical facilities and water pumps across Gaza are running out of much-needed fuel.
The videos published by the Israeli army come after Israel received condemnation from humanitarian organizations for its air strikes near hospitals where tens of thousands of Palestinians are being treated and seeking refuge.
The Israeli military has claimed that Hamas’s 300-mile network of tunnels extends under hospitals, accusing terrorists of hiding behind wounded Palestinians.
The Israeli army said that it would completely encircle Gaza City within two days and begin a ground invasion there.
But she said that Israeli soldiers would avoid entering the tunnel network, assuming that its passages were booby-trapped. Local newspaper Haaretz reported.
Officials said the current invasion plan would see the Israeli army encircle Gaza and advance cautiously, systematically clearing the areas and wiping Hamas off the map in an occupation that would last for several months to a year or even more.
Israel said the tunnels would be dealt with at a later stage of the invasion, but the entrances could be hit by air strikes if necessary.
While the Israeli army did not give orders to its soldiers to storm hospitals, including Al-Shifa Hospital where senior Hamas officials are believed to be hiding, Israeli officials did not rule out the use of military force there, according to Haaretz.
Hajari said the Israeli Air Force dropped more than 1.5 million leaflets in northern Gaza and made more than 20,000 calls urging Palestinians to evacuate before invading Gaza City.
Our war is with Hamas, not with civilians in Gaza. “We will not accept Hamas’ cynical use of hospitals to hide its terrorist infrastructure,” Hajari said. “Hamas’ exploitation of hospitals must end.”
Despite evacuation calls, hospital officials have repeatedly said it would be impossible to evacuate medical centers in Gaza.
Many hospitals operating in the Palestinian sector said they had many patients in intensive care and children in incubators who could not be easily moved in order to take shelter from airstrikes.
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