New Delhi, Nov 16: Israeli soldiers continued their search of Gaza's largest Al-Shifa hospital for the second consecutive day. The hospital, now under the control of Israeli troops, was previously administered by Gaza's health ministry of Hamas.
The Israeli army has systematically tightened its control over the hospital in recent weeks, employing a ground offensive into northern Gaza. Soldiers, tanks, armoured vehicles, and attack drones, supported by snipers, surrounded the largest hospital in the Strip.
Despite the military presence, hundreds of displaced individuals, patients, and medical staff still reside within the hospital compound. Israelis’ troops have asked the Doctors and paramedics to continue their work and have even brought some supplies to the hospital.
According to Gaza's health ministry, Israeli armoured bulldozers have damaged parts of the hospital's southern entrance and fear and anxiety amongst the residents and patients continue.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reported that they are "continuing the precise and targeted operation against Hamas" in Al-Shifa. The Israeli forces entered Al-Shifa on Wednesday, initially stating they were operating in a specific area within the hospital. Subsequently, the IDF alleged the discovery of Hamas' "operational centre" in the hospital, sharing images of what they claimed to be Hamas weapons and equipment.
Hamas has denied operating within the hospital, dismissing the allegations as stage-managed. Despite this, Israeli troops escorted journalists inside the complex to showcase what they assert is evidence of Hamas utilizing the hospital for military purposes.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus led journalists to the MRI unit of the hospital, revealing supplies of Kalashnikovs, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, and approximately 15 guns, along with grenades. He also presented military booklets, pamphlets, and a map that he claims is marked with potential entry and exit routes from the hospital.
ISRAEL REVEALS HAMAS EXTENSIVE UNDERGROUND TUNNEL NETWORK
Israel contends that Hamas maintains a network of underground tunnels, including beneath Al-Shifa Hospital. Both Israel and the United States assert that Hamas operates a command base beneath the Gaza Strip's largest hospital, a claim consistently denied by Hamas.
Israeli authorities assert that the recently discovered base is part of Hamas's intricate system of tunnels spread across much of the enclave. According to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the map recovered illustrates the locations of Hamas's underground network, which Israel alleges serves as operational bases for the organization.
In a press briefing, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus stated, "Hamas uses hospitals for military purposes," adding that the Israeli forces uncovered numerous computers and equipment that could provide insight into the current situation, particularly concerning hostages. The laptops reportedly contain photos and videos of hostages taken to Gaza after their abduction. Lt Col Conricus suggested that this indicates Hamas was present "within the last few days." Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, he concluded, "At the end of the day, this is just the tip of the iceberg."
ISRAELI MILITARY REPORTS 50 SOLDIERS KILLED IN GAZA CONFLICT
The Israeli military has confirmed the deaths of two more soldiers in the ongoing conflict in Gaza since the commencement of its ground invasion in late October. This brings the total number of Israeli soldiers killed to 50.
ISRAELI AIR STRIKE CLAIMS LIVES IN CENTRAL GAZA
According to an official Palestinian news agency, approximately 50 civilians lost their lives, with dozens more injured, in Israeli air strikes conducted on Wednesday night. The strikes reportedly targeted the Sabra neighbourhood in the central Gaza Strip.
The news agency, Wafa, further reported that additional strikes resulted in three casualties at the Malaysian school in the Nuseirat refugee camp and the death of a child in a bombing in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. Israel’s military maintains that its air strikes are aimed at Hamas infrastructure only.
ISRAELI FORCES HIT HOME OF HAMAS LEADER ISMAIL HANIYEH
Israeli forces have confirmed that they conducted a targeted airstrike on the residence of Ismail Haniyeh, recognized as Hamas's overall leader, last night. The Israeli military asserts that Haniyeh's house, located in Gaza, was "used as terrorist infrastructure" and served as a "meeting place for the organization's senior officials." Fighter jets were deployed for the strike on Wednesday night.
Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's political bureau, currently resides in Qatar. Although elected to this position in 2017, he has been living in Qatar for several years. Haniyeh played a prominent role in Hamas during the late 1980s, enduring a three-year imprisonment by Israel. After a year in exile, he returned to Gaza, where, in 1997, he assumed the position of head of the office of Hamas's spiritual leader, consolidating his influence.
In 2006, Haniyeh was appointed Palestinian prime minister by President Mahmoud Abbas but was later dismissed after Hamas ousted Abbas' Fatah party from the Gaza Strip in a week of violent confrontations in 2007.
ISRAEL OPPOSITION LEADER YAIR LAPID CALLS FOR NETANYAHU’S RESIGNATION OVER HANDLING OF CONFLICT
Yair Lapid, Israel's main opposition leader, has called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down, citing what he perceives as the government's inadequate management of the war against Hamas. Lapid is advocating for the formation of a "national reconstruction government," even suggesting that Netanyahu's party, Likud, could lead it, but with a different prime minister at the helm.
In a series of comments to Israeli media and a subsequent tweet, Lapid acknowledged the resilience displayed by the Israeli army and public since Hamas's October 7th attack. However, he pointedly criticized the government and, specifically, the prime minister, labelling them as the "weak link."
Lapid emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, "I hear the voices saying this is not the time. We waited 40 days, there was no more time. What we need right now is a government that will deal with nothing but security and the economy." It's noteworthy that Yair Lapid did not join the Israeli war cabinet formed after the October 7th attack, a contrast to centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz's participation in the cabinet.
ESCALATION AT ISRAEL-LEBANON BORDER
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have reported that they responded to a "number of launches towards Israeli territory" from Lebanon in a post late on Wednesday. The IDF further claimed the use of tanks to strike a Hezbollah observation post within Lebanon.
Simultaneously, Hezbollah's TV channel, Al Manar, reported that the group targeted Israeli military sites along the border with Lebanon, where villages are reported to have been shelled. This recent exchange comes amid ongoing tensions, with Hezbollah launching attacks on military positions in northern Israel since Hamas's October 7th assault.