Israel-Gaza War: The Israeli army has claimed that its soldiers have found a tunnel shaft used by Hamas militants at Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital, as reported by news agency Reuters on Friday. Meanwhile, the United Nations has said that no aid would be delivered to Palestinians on Friday via the Rafah crossing with Egypt. The army released a video that it said showed a tunnel entrance in an outdoor area of Al Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has said that due to a breakdown in communication and the absence of fuel, it was impossible to coordinate humanitarian aid truck convoys. “If the fuel does not come in, people will start to die because of the lack of fuel. Exactly, as of when, I don’t know. But it will be sooner rather than later,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, as quoted by Reuters.
The Israeli army has stated that its troops also discovered a vehicle in the hospital carrying a large number of weapons. On Thursday, Hamas said in a statement that claims by the United States that the group uses Al Shifa for military purposes “is a repetition of a blatantly false narrative, demonstrated by the weak and ridiculous performances of the occupation army spokesman,” as quoted by Reuters.
According to White House spokesperson John Kirby, the United States exuded confidence in an assessment done by its own intelligence agencies on Hamas activities in Al Shifa Hospital.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his objective was not to occupy Gaza but to “demilitarise and deradicalise” the Hamas-controlled enclave. In an interview with CBS News, Netanyahu highlighted that Israel was aiming to “wipe out” Palestinian militant outfit Hamas with “minimal civilian casualties”.
“We seek overall military responsibility to prevent the re-emergence of terror. We’re not seeking to occupy. That’s not our goal. But our goal is to ensure that what happens there is different. To achieve that, we need to demilitarise Gaza and de-radicalise Gaza,” Netanyahu said.
Following the surprise attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7, Israel has retaliated with ground assault and airstrikes, killing more than 11,000 people, as per the Gaza health ministry.