Israel is intensifying its claims that Hamas is using hospitals as cover by releasing two videos from inside Gaza’s main children’s hospital. The footage shows weapons, explosives, and a room where the military claims hostages were kept. The Health Ministry in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, disputed many assertions in the initial Israeli video but acknowledged that the footage was from Al-Rantisi Specialized Hospital for Children in northern Gaza. U.S. intelligence reportedly supports Israel’s allegations of Hamas operating within and beneath hospitals. Israeli forces surrounded the hospital, and after its remaining patients and staff left, troops entered, capturing videos as part of an effort to demonstrate that Hamas has turned hospitals into safe houses and command centers, even building tunnels underneath.
The first video, released on Monday, displayed evidence, including guns and explosives, but their provenance could not be confirmed. The second video, posted on Tuesday, showed troops appearing to find weaponry in action. While these assertions couldn’t be independently verified, Israel claims that this is not an isolated case, emphasizing that other hospitals in Gaza may be similarly used by Hamas.
Hamas spokesman Osama Hamadan dismissed the Israeli presentation as a “lie and charade.” The Gazan Health Ministry stated that a paper shown in Monday’s video, with Arabic words and numbers, was a regular work shift timetable, countering Admiral Hagari’s claim that it could be a schedule for guarding hostages. The ministry did not address the paper’s specific details, such as its start date coinciding with the day of the Hamas attack on Israel.
Dr. Mustafa Al Kahlout, the hospital’s director, urged international organizations to inspect all parts of Gazan hospitals. The Israeli military’s video on Monday began with Admiral Hagari pointing out nearby locations, including a senior Hamas leader’s house, a school, and an alleged tunnel entrance. The video then showed Admiral Hagari inside the hospital basement, displaying weapons neatly laid out on the floor and an area connected to the basement where hostages were purportedly held.
The Gazan Health Ministry countered that the basement rooms were used as shelters for those fleeing airstrikes, and the bathroom shown was a necessity. It explained that the baby bottle and diapers were standard in a children’s hospital, and regarding the weapons, the ministry stated, “We don’t know where they got them.” The fate of the hostages and Hamas fighters allegedly at the hospital remains under investigation, according to Admiral Hagari.
In the ongoing conflict, the use of hospitals for military purposes adds complexity to the situation, with both sides presenting conflicting narratives. International scrutiny and independent verification are crucial to discerning the facts amid the heated accusations.