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Israeli Soldiers Find Terror Tunnel Shaft on Hospital Grounds, Discover Bodies of 2 Hostages

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JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Defense Forces found an operational terror tunnel shaft on the grounds of the Shifa Hospital. Israel has been asserting that tunnels under the hospital are part of Hamas’s terror command center. They also discovered a booby-trapped vehicle containing a large amount of weapons.

“We found a vehicle filled with ammunition, RPGs, AK47s. We see handcuffs, knives, preparations for taking hostages from Israel on the attack of October 7th. As you can see, they were very well prepared, and where they are hiding all this equipment is in a hospital, a place that’s supposed to be for humanitarian aid; they have all this evil hidden here,” said one unnamed IDF soldier in a video released by the military.

The State Department says it’s because of Hamas’s strategy that it’s difficult for Israel to avoid civilian casualties. “Remember that it is Hamas that is putting all these people in harm’s way,” said State Department spokesperson Matt Miller.

In an interview with CBS News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they have “concrete evidence” that terror “chieftains” (leaders) were hiding in the hospital and fled when Israeli troops entered. He also said they believe the hostages were there.

“We have strong indications that they were held in the Shifa Hospital, which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital. If they were, they were taken out. We have intelligence about the hostages, but again, as to your first question, the less I say about it, the better,” said Netanyahu.

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The IDF said it recovered the body of 64-year-old Yehudit Weiss from a building near Shifa Hospital, along with military equipment. Weiss, who was undergoing cancer treatment, was abducted on October 7 when her husband was murdered.

The IDF also extracted the body of IDF soldier Noa Marciano from a structure adjacent to Shifa Hospital. Marciano was also abducted during the October 7 massacre and murdered inside Gaza.

President Biden says he discussed with Israelis their need to be “incredibly careful” in Shifa Hospital but shares the Israeli assessment that Hamas has a significant military presence within the civilian infrastructure.

“With regard to when is this going to stop, I think it’s going to stop when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder and abuse and just do horrific things to the Israelis,” said Biden.

Netanyahu says at the end of the war, Israel will maintain security control over Gaza to prevent a Hamas successor from rising up. But Biden sees a different future, one that's not likely to be popular with Israel.

“I made it clear to the Israelis, to Bibi and his war cabinet, that I think the only ultimate answer here is a two-state solution that’s real,” said Biden.

Many Israelis have worked with Palestinians from the Gaza Strip for years. It’s believed that Hamas knew the layout of the communities it attacked from the Palestinians who worked inside the villages daily.

“We live so close to Gaza. We were the ones who made some relationships with the Gazans. And my car was the one who took sick kids to the hospitals because I thought, this is what’s true and this is what I needed to do. And I don’t know if we were very comfortable; we thought, nobody can do it. Because on a daily basis, we were the ones who helped them,” said Elinor Biton-Bariach, a Hamas attack survivor from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Hamas terrorists murdered 63 people and took 19 hostages in Kfar Aza.

“We also know that we want to be a strong community. If we make a decision not to go back, Hamas will be the winner. And we don’t want anyone to break our spirit,” she said.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and