IDF launches new op. in Gaza’s Shifa hospital, heavy clashes reported

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The IDF launched a new operation in the Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza early Monday morning, in light of intelligence showing that senior Hamas officials were using the hospital to command terrorist operations, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated that the operation was targeting limited areas within the hospital complex based on “concrete intelligence that demanded immediate action.”

Hagari added the senior Hamas terrorists had regrouped inside the hospital and were using it as a command center for attacks against Israel.

“Our targeted mission isn’t just an operational necessity; it’s a global imperative,” said Hagari.

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari discusses a new IDF operation in Shifa Hospital in Gaza. March 18, 2024 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The Israeli forces who entered the area received special training and were briefed in advance about the importance of avoiding harm to patients, civilians, medical staff, and medical equipment. Arabic speakers are accompanying the forces in order to facilitate dialogue with the patients at the hospital. Patients and staff are not being ordered to evacuate.

The IDF and Shin Bet said later that they were working together in the hospital, adding that while Israeli forces were encircling the complex, terrorists hiding in the hospital fired at the forces.

IDF to facilitate humanitarian efforts during operation

The IDF will also continue humanitarian efforts in the area, bringing food, water, and medical supplies to the hospital. IDF doctors are present as well to provide assistance.

“Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza,” stressed Hagari. “We seek no harm to the civilians that Hamas is hiding behind.”

“We call upon all Hamas terrorists hiding in hospitals, surrender immediately. Medical facilities should never be exploited for terror. Hamas must be held accountable,” concluded the IDF spokesperson.

Palestinian media reported intensive armed clashes between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli forces in the hospital complex shortly before the IDF statement was published.

“The IDF will continue to act in accordance with international law and against the Hamas terrorist organization – which operates from hospitals and civilian infrastructure in a systematic and cynical way, without the distinction between the civilian population and the organization’s terrorists,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

IDF warns Gaza Health Ministry to kick Hamas out of hospitals

The head of the Defense Ministry’s Coordination and Liasion Administration (CLA) for Gaza spoke with the director of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry in recent days about the activities of Hamas terrorists in Shifa, warning him that these operations must stop.

“We have warned of these activities in the past and see that the Hamas terror organization is continuing its military activity inside hospitals and that there are terror operatives in the heart of hospitals,” said the CLA head. “I have told you before and I will tell you again, we are willing to provide any humanitarian aid needed, be it gas, food supplies, medical supplies and medicine – to help with the operation of the hospitals – just as we have done in the past.”

Dr. Youssef Abu Rish told the CLA head “I promise you we are on the same page.”

“Hospitals need to be places that provide services, and no one should harm the patients of the provision of the medical services inside these hospitals,” added Abu Rish.

In mid-November, the IDF entered the Shifa Hospital, searching the facility for terrorists and weapons. The IDF found several tunnels in the area, as well as surveillance camera footage showing hostages being dragged into the hospital on October 7. 

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