Conflicting videos cast doubt on Israel’s claim that Al-Shifa hospital is Hamas’ main HQ
11/22/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

Mainstream news outlet BBC released a report that Israel is claiming that Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex and central hospital in the Gaza Strip, is the militant group Hamas' main command center or headquarters for its "terroristic activities."

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) posted an intelligence-based animation of the hospital late in October, which indicated a tunnel system underneath the said medical institution. The video shows a 3D diagram of the hospital, which moves to show an animated network of purported tunnels and operation rooms. However, according to BBC, IDF is yet to produce evidence of the claimed tunnel's existence.

After raiding the hospital, Israel's military arm released a seven-minute video "proving" they were right. In the said clip, a solider has a watch which indicates that the footage was taken a few hours before BBC was allowed to film inside the hospital which they claimed to be a Hamas headquarters. As per the news anchor's reporting, the particular video was uploaded, removed and then reposted without the section referring to an Israeli soldier who had been held hostage. The initial CCTV footage appeared to show hostages being brought through the hospital itself.

In the video by the IDF, a soldier was showing evidence of their claims and was presenting one gun beside an MRI machine. Meanwhile, the video aired by BBC had the same shot of the scene but already showed two very different guns from the one the man showed in the Israeli-released video. It further reported that the footage was edited despite IDF's claim that the video was a single shot, without edits.

Critics also observed that Israel is trying to magnify its allegations by insisting that the hospital is Hamas' main command center. The White House has backed the claims, saying that Hamas was storing weapons, but wordings by House spokesman John Kirby were technically different: "Hamas uses Al-Shifa as a command-and-control node," which implied a much smaller facility.

Meanwhile, a British doctor who used to work at the hospital has confirmed that there were areas of the hospital where he could not go, or else he would be shot. In a recent interview with the English-language channel of French broadcaster France24, the doctor, who requested anonymity for fear of endangering his colleagues in Gaza, said he had worked at Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank for three months, three years ago. "When I was first asked to work there [at Shifa], I was told there was a part of the hospital I was not to go near, and if I did, I'd be in danger of being shot," he was quoted as saying.

When asked whether it was explained to him why, he answered: "No, but implicit was that it was being used for non-medical purposes." The doctor also said that he stayed away but saw a few dodgy-looking non-medical characters going in and out all the time. "It was a ward leading to a basement. As I said, I didn't go there; so I behaved myself," he said.

But Israeli ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has a different claim. According to him, the Hamas command center is in the south of Gaza and not at the al-Shifa Hospital. He disagreed when the military said it had uncovered a Hamas "tunnel shaft" and a vehicle with weapons in the hospital last week. "We haven't yet even come to the heart of this operation," Olmert said. "Khan Younis, which is in the southern part of Gaza Strip, is the real headquarters of Hamas." He added that the group has the leadership and that "they are hiding, they have the bunkers, they have the command positions, they have the launching pads."

Hamas, health officials deny IDF allegations

Israel's allegations have been vehemently denied by Hamas, the Gaza Health Ministry and hospital officials. Dr. Medhat Abbas, the director general of the Hamas-controlled health ministry, told CNN that hospitals in the enclave are used to treat patients only and are not being used "to hide anyone." (Related: IDF raid of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza produces nearly ZERO real evidence of claimed Hamas headquarters.)

"The health ministry responded to the images of hostages inside Al-Shifa released Sunday by the IDF by questioning their authenticity – but went on to say that if true, the pictures showed that hospitals in Gaza provided medical care to anyone who needed it," the news site reported. Hamas said it had brought several hostages to hospitals for medical treatment after they were injured in Israeli air strikes, regarding the claim they are keeping hostages in the hospital. This statement came out before the CCTV videos were even released.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops are still on hospital grounds as the facility continues attending to patients. Doctors who are still at the hospital cannot treat patients due to heavy shelling in the past week. Fuel shortages and a lack of electricity prevent them from running incubators for the babies. ICU patients and several neonatal babies in Al-Shifa have died in recent days. has more updates on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

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