IDF reveals Hamas tunnel under Gaza hospital
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have released video footage that they claim is the first concrete proof of a complex Hamas tunnel network under the Dar al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
According to an IDF statement on Sunday, soldiers near the al-Shifa in-patients building discovered a pickup truck rigged with explosives in a garage within the hospital compound. A controlled detonation of the truck revealed a tunnel under the garage floor, the IDF said, showing pictures of the opening.
The video, dated 16 and 17 November, shows army robots descending a shaky spiral staircase in a 10-metre-deep tunnel shaft, leading to a 55-metre-long tunnel. The tunnel has electrical wiring and slopes down to a blast-resistant door with a small opening for firing weapons. The IDF says it has not yet breached the door.
The IDF entered the al-Shifa complex five days ago, accusing Hamas of using it as a command centre and targeting it despite international condemnation.
The IDF had previously displayed weapons that it said were seized from the hospital grounds, but had not provided any evidence to support its allegations of a large tunnel system under the hospital, which were rejected by both hospital staff and Hamas.
The IDF said it was continuing to search for weapons, tunnel entrances and other Hamas equipment at al-Shifa. It also claimed to have found explosives in the physiotherapy ward, an interrogation room in the cardiology ward, and weapons and intelligence in the MRI centre. The Guardian was unable to independently verify these claims, though the IDF shared photo and video proof.
The UN said that at least 40 people, including eight premature babies, died this week as Israeli forces approached the hospital, due to a lack of power for vital medical devices such as incubators and dialysis machines.
As the UN tries to evacuate the remaining 300 or so critical patients from al-Shifa, Israel has announced that it is extending its campaign to destroy Hamas to areas south of Gaza City, sparking concern for the hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled there after the IDF advised them that it was safer