US says Hamas operates from Gaza hospitals, backing Israeli accusations | ET REALITY

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The United States has intelligence showing that Hamas has been using hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Shifa, as command centers and ammunition depots, a National Security Council spokesman said Tuesday.

John F. Kirby, the spokesman, said the intelligence, gathered from U.S.-generated sources, supported Israel’s charge that Hamas has been operating from hospitals, which Kirby said amounted to a war crime.

Kirby declined to provide details about the US intelligence, but made clear that it goes beyond information collected by the Israeli intelligence service. “It comes from a variety of intelligence methods: ours, ours,” she said, adding that the intelligence classification had been downgraded so it could be shared publicly.

“I can confirm to you that we have information that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa, and tunnels beneath them, to hide and support their military operations and hold hostages,” said Mr. Kirby told reporters on Air Force One as President Biden headed to San Francisco for a summit with Asia-Pacific leaders.

“Members of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City,” he added. “They have stored weapons there and are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility.”

The US intelligence revelation comes as Israel is under heavy international criticism for attacks on and around hospitals while waging a war against Hamas following the armed group’s terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7. Israel says more than 1,200 people were killed in the attacks and that 239 others remain hostage.

During Israel’s subsequent military campaign to eradicate Hamas, it has repeatedly said that its military seeks to avoid casualties among civilians, including patients and doctors in hospitals. But they have insisted that Hamas uses these people as human shields.

Kirby said the United States does not support airstrikes against hospitals, despite what he said was confirmed use of the facilities by Hamas.

“We do not support attacking a hospital from the air,” he said. “And we don’t want to see a hospital shooting where innocent, helpless, sick people are simply trying to get the medical care they deserve, not get caught in the crossfire. Hospitals and patients must be protected.”

He called that concern an “additional burden” for Israel in its military campaign against Hamas.

Palestinian officials and doctors at Al-Shifa have denied that Hamas used the hospital. But Kirby said newly revealed US intelligence supported Israel’s arguments as its military approached the hospital.

“We have information confirming that Hamas is using that particular hospital as a command and control node and probably to store equipment and weapons underneath,” he said. “That is a war crime.”

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