Day 40: Israeli Forces Target Hamas Command Centers Inside Gaza's Shifa Hospital
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Smoke was rising over the Gaza Strip Wednesday, as fighting continued in the central part of Gaza, and the Israeli Defense Forces announced they were inside the Shifa Hospital.
“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 IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.
Yonah Bob, military correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, told CBN News, “It’s an incredibly complicated situation. We know that the IDF was in around 2:00 this morning Israel time. We know that they’re still there. The early impression that I and some others were given was that this was not necessarily going to be the final operation in Al Shifa, but sort of an initial operation – but all that is developing also, since they’re still there.”
The IDF says its battle is with Hamas, not the Palestinian people, and it's trying to avoid civilian casualties. They released footage of the military delivering medical supplies and equipment to the front of the Shiva Hospital Wednesday,.
In a statement, the military said, “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 being used by Hamas as human shields.”
Hagari emphasized the danger IDF troops face inside the Hamas stronghold.
“Our forces are operating in the field in a professional and determined manner. The activity is complex, in a trap-filled environment, with traps both above ground and underground. There are terrorists there, but the safety of our troops comes first. We are operating with force. We are advancing,” he said.
Gaza hospitals, including Shifa, have been an Israeli target because Israel says Hamas uses the hospitals for its military purposes, including command centers and weapons stores under the hospital buildings. The IDF says it's working to save the civilian staff and patients.
“We are operating to enable evacuation of hospitals in the Gaza strip, those that are in the north, including Shifa hospital, to hospitals in the safer south,” said Hagari. “(Tuesday), the Al Quds hospital evacuation was completed. We have offered the Shifa Hospital administration, alongside international NGOs, to transfer incubators, medical equipment and food, to the premature baby’s department of the hospital. The equipment is ready to be transferred.”
The IDF also released more footage of weapons found earlier under the Rantisi Hospital. And after Israel said Hamas had terror centers under Gaza hospitals, the U.S. backed up those claims.
"I can confirm for you that we have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad used 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,” White House Spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Air Force One.
And in Washington, more than 100 U.S. Congressmen watched the October 7 massacre video released privately by the Israeli government – collected from body cam and cell phone footage of the terrorists themselves. Many reportedly left the room shaken and at a loss for words, with some in tears.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said the U.S. needs to act now to send weapons and never forget.
“I just watched the film, provided by the Israeli government for our members to watch, 47-minute film, of the horrors of Hamas and what they did on October the 7th. Everyone who saw that should never forget it and should give notice to the world of the barbarity and the horrific attack on the Israeli people,” Rep. Cohen remarked. on X.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) also reflected on what he saw. “They wanted members to see this, to never forget. The victims were the Jewish people,” he said.
To prevent any more attacks like those on October 7th, the Israeli military is pushing ahead in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel’s goal is complete victory over Hamas – or anything like it –in the future.
At the same time, with heavy exchanges of fire with Hezbollah in northern Israel occurring, the prime minister warned them against pushing the state of Israel.
“We are committed to restoring security to the citizens of Israel - both in the south and in the north. And that's what we're going to do,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.
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