4:08 pm ET, November 5, 2023
The IDF releases what it says is evidence that Hamas has used civilian infrastructure to launch attacks
From CNN’s Stephanie Halasz
Abed Rahim Khatib/Anatolu/Getty Images
The Israel Defense Forces released what it said was evidence that Hamas used civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and children’s playgrounds, as shields for attacks on Israel.
Israeli Army Chief Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during a press conference on Sunday that the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza is being used by Hamas as a shield against Israeli retaliation to its rockets.
Hagari showed aerial images of the hospital, pointing out what he said were rocket launchers nearby.
“Only 75 meters, 80 meters to the hospital. Here, the IDF identified a launch site, which means they launched rockets from here,” Hagari said, adding that the Palestinian militant movement places launchers there knowing that Israeli airstrikes on those targets would damage the hospital.
Hagari also showed aerial images of what he said was a tunnel opening at the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani hospital.
“A Tunnel Used for Terrorist Infrastructure in Qatar Hospital. As if this was not enough… the terrorists also shot dead our soldiers from inside the hospital,” Hagari said.
Earlier on Sunday, the IDF said it had identified “missiles” and “rocket launchers” at an old children’s playground in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF included a nighttime video of what it said were four launch barrels for rockets, “only five meters from a children’s swimming pool.”
A CNN security expert reviewing the footage said it shows what the IDF is saying.
Palestinian officials deny the claims: Mai al-Qaila, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s health minister, rejected the Israeli military’s claims, saying Israel was aiming to create reasons to “target (hospitals)”.
“Israel always makes excuses and comes up with theories and lies to legitimize their plans and actions,” he told CNN.
The head of the Hamas-controlled government media office in Gaza, Salama Maruf, dismissed the claims at a news conference outside al-Shifa hospital on Sunday night.
“(Israel) is waging massacres against hospitals,” he said, as ambulances brought casualties for treatment behind him. “In the past hour, there have been extensive airstrikes near hospitals in the Gaza Strip.”
Israel launched its war on Hamas last month after a surprise terrorist attack in Israel killed around 1,400 people. Israel says more than 200 are still being held captive.
Israel’s more than 11,000 strikes in Gaza have damaged civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, United Nations shelters and refugee camps, killing and injuring civilians. More than 9,700 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since October 7, according to Palestinian Health Minister Dr. Mai al-Qaila in Ramallah.
The IDF says it is targeting Hamas leaders, fighters and infrastructure.
Regarding the Gaza evacuation: Hagari also accused Hamas of trying to prevent civilians from leaving the southern Gaza Strip, as the IDF has insisted. He said Israel had recently established “corridors” to allow civilians to safely evacuate because of Hamas attacks in the area.
Hagari said more than 1.5 million multi-colored flyers – to represent different messages – had been dropped in the Gaza Strip.
More than 19,734 phone calls were made warning people to evacuate certain areas, and more than six million recorded messages were sent in Arabic, urging the public to evacuate to the south.
US Special Envoy to the Middle East David Satterfield said this on Saturday 800,000 and one million people They have fled from northern to southern parts of the Gaza Strip, deepening the humanitarian crisis. Critical commodities remain in short supply amid Israel’s blockade of the region. The IDF has hit targets south of the withdrawal line.
CNN’s Karim El Damanhoury, Abeer Salman and Karim Khader reported for this post.
This post has been updated with a response from Hamas and Palestinian Authority government representatives.