April 21, 2024

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Israel arrests more than 500 Hamas and PIJ terrorists in a raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza (IDF)

Israel arrests more than 500 Hamas and PIJ terrorists in a raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza (IDF)

world News

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli forces arrested hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, including a number of security officials and military commanders, during an expanded raid on the main hospital in Gaza, the main spokesman for the Israeli army said.

Israeli forces entered Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in the early hours of Monday morning, sweeping the sprawling complex, which the army says is connected to a network of tunnels used as a base for Palestinian fighters.

The Israeli army raided the main hospital in Gaza. Via Reuters
Israel claimed to have killed hundreds of fighters and arrested 500 suspects. AP

It says forces killed hundreds of fighters in the operation and also arrested more than 500 suspects, including 358 members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, the largest number captured at the same time since the start of the war nearly six months ago.

Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF's main military spokesman, said special forces units used “deception tactics” to surprise fighters and inflicted severe damage on Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Among those detained were three senior military commanders in the Islamic Jihad movement and two Hamas officials responsible for operations in the occupied West Bank, in addition to other Hamas internal security officials.

“Those who did not surrender to our forces fought against our forces and were eliminated,” Hajri said in a press conference late on Thursday evening, during which he showed a composite photo of those described as detainees.

The army said on Friday that some of the photos were of militants who had not been arrested but whose images were included through human error.

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Ismail Al-Thawabta, director of the Hamas-run government media office, said the misidentification and inclusion of photos of medical staff and people outside the country shows that the Israeli army is spreading false narratives to justify its attack on the hospital.

Al-Shifa Hospital is the largest hospital in Gaza, and one of the last partially operational centers providing health care and shelter to the vulnerable civilian population. Reuters

Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip before the war, is now one of the few even partially functioning health care facilities in the northern Strip, and was also housing displaced civilians.

Israel faced severe criticism last November when forces raided the hospital for the first time. The forces uncovered tunnels there, which they said were used by Hamas as command and control centers. Hamas and the medical staff deny using the hospital for military purposes or to house fighters.

In recent days, Hamas spokesmen said that the dead announced in previous Israeli statements were not fighters but rather sick and displaced people, and accused Israel of committing war crimes.

Reuters was unable to reach the hospital and verify the authenticity of either account.

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