JERUSALEM (Nov 16): An Israeli army official said today footage relating to hostages seized by Hamas was found on computers at the Al-Shifa hospital during an ongoing special forces raid Hamas said severely damaged the medical facility.
According to Israeli authorities, around 240 people were taken hostage after the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, which killed an an estimated 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
Israel’s bombardment and Gaza ground offensive have killed more than 11,500 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children, according to Hamas government officials.
The Al-Shifa hospital — the largest in Gaza — has become a focus of the operation by the Israeli military, which says it is used as a base by Hamas, a charge the Islamist movement denies.
“Soldiers are proceeding one building at a time, searching each floor, all while hundreds of patients and medical staff remain in the complex,” the Israeli army official said.
Intelligence materials including equipment “belonging to Hamas” had been found, they said.
“During the searches, information and footage pertaining to the hostages abducted from Israel were found on computers and other technological equipment.”
The official said the items belonging to Hamas had been taken for “further examination and investigation”.
An AFP journalist in the hospital said hundreds of soldiers were taking part in the operation, encircling buildings and using armoured bulldozers to push through walls.
The Hamas health ministry said the raid had destroyed medical services in the hospital, where the UN estimated 2,300 patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering before Israeli troops moved in on Wednesday.
Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra told AFP Israeli troops “destroyed the radiology service and bombed the burns and dialysis departments”.
“Thousands of women, children, sick and wounded are in danger of death,” he said.
The Al-Shifa operation is being carried out by soldiers of the elite Shaldag special forces unit, the Israeli official said.
Troops had already found weapons, “intelligence materials” related to the October 7 attacks, and “command and control centres”, they said.
“The operation is shaped by our understanding that there is well-hidden terrorist infrastructure in the complex,” the official added. – AFP