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Israel Uncovers Alleged Hamas Militant Hideout Underneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City

Israeli military officials revealed what they claimed to be a Hamas military facility under Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa Hospital, to a group of foreign journalists. The facility appeared to be a subterranean dormitory, which was showcased during a rare tour of the besieged enclave.

Journalists were escorted through a narrow stone tunnel, measuring 150 meters (164 yards), to a series of underground bunkers beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The living quarters, located at the end of the tunnel, included an air conditioner, kitchen, bathroom, and a pair of metal cots. However, they appeared to be out of use.

Israel has repeatedly accused the Islamic militant group, Hamas, of using Gaza’s hospitals as cover for military operations. Shifa Hospital has been a particular focus, with Israel claiming that Hamas has hidden command centers and bunkers underneath its grounds.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, stated, “Shifa Hospital is the largest hospital in Gaza, and it’s also the largest terror facility of Hamas. Hamas battalion commanders were conducting command and control, firing rockets from here.”

Despite Israel’s claims, Hamas and the hospital administration have denied the allegations. The Associated Press was allowed access to Gaza on the condition that its journalist stay with the Israeli military convoy throughout the tour, as there is currently no other way for foreign journalists to access the enclave.

The war was triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack that killed at least 1,200 people and took 240 others hostage. Israel has described the heavy toll as the inevitable cost of fighting militants who use civilians as human shields and fire rockets from densely populated neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers showed the foreign journalists weaponry they said they found at Shifa, including dozens of AK-47 assault rifles, 20 grenades and several drones. Hagari said the cache was just a small sample.

The Israeli military has been targeting Hamas’ tunnel network and other objectives, leading to significant destruction in northern Gaza. Hamas fighters have employed the underground network to ambush Israeli troops. In addition to the tunnel it showed journalists, the army says it had uncovered another two shafts near Shifa.

Although the trip was tightly controlled by the Israeli army, journalists could catch glimpses of life in Gaza, including the sight of Palestinians gathering their belongings and Palestinians stranded at the besieged hospital.

There were also scenes of devastation, with collapsed buildings and streets covered in rubble. However, amidst the destruction, Israeli soldiers expressed a strong morale and determination to fight for their country.

The city’s coastal promenade was in ruins, with recent bombing sending black plumes rising into the sky and gunbattles rattling in the distance.

In the midst of the devastation, a line of Palestinian evacuees could be seen, carrying their bags and other belongings, as they held up their ID cards to the Israeli army convoy passing by, some waving white flags.

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