New Delhi: As the fighting in the Gaza Strip intensifies, Israel on Wednesday said that its troops found weapons and other terror infrastructure inside the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, reported news agency Reuters.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are carrying out an operation on a “specific area” of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
An Israeli official said that there had been no fighting inside the hospital complex after the soldiers arrived during the night, and no friction with medical staff or patients, who he said were in a different section of the site.
“IDF soldiers have already found weapons and other terror infrastructure. In the last hour, we saw concrete evidence that Hamas terrorists used the Shifa hospital as a terror headquarter,” the official said, reported Reuters.
“This is an extremely precise and targeted operation. Our forces are present in one specific area of the very large Shifa hospital complex,” he added.
“Our soldiers are making a slow and deliberate progress based on our intelligence,” he said.
According to Reuters, the Israelis have said for years that Hamas militants have used Al Shifa as a cover for their operations.
However, Hamas and hospital staff have denied this allegation.
The military official said four militants had died in a gunfight outside Al Shifa, as Israeli soldiers sought to enter the complex. He added that soldiers had interrogated individuals found in the area they were searching.
The Israeli military earlier today said that it was carrying out a “targeted operation” against Hamas as it raided Gaza City’s main Al-Shifa hospital. At around 1 am local time, Gaza health ministry spokesman said that Israel had told the officials that it would raid the hospital complex “in the coming minutes”, reported Reuters.
“Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa hospital,” said the Israeli Defence Forces in a statement, as per the Reuters report.
“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians,” it added.
The Wednesday raids by Israel have only added to the woes of crippling health infrastructure in the besieged enclave as UN in its latest situation report has said that severe lack of fuel in the Palestinian enclave, has halted the work of ambulances and rescue teams in the city.