Israel releases videos of what it says are weapons in Gaza hospital | ET REALITY


Facing an international outcry over increasingly grim conditions at besieged hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Israel sought to bolster its case for military action on Tuesday, releasing video of what it said were weapons inside a children’s hospital and accounts of sexual violence and other atrocities. committed by Hamas during the October 7 attacks.

Israel’s efforts came as conditions for patients, including about three dozen premature babies, grew bleaker at Gaza City’s main hospital complex, which has been surrounded by Israeli troops and without power for days. Workers at Al-Shifa hospital are digging a mass grave for bodies that have begun to decompose, according to medical authorities in Gaza, which Hamas controls.

Hospital director Dr. Mohammed Abu Salmiya said doctors performed surgeries on Monday without anesthesia or oxygen, and that several people had died at the medical complex. He added that health workers were forced to bury the bodies inside the compound.

Israel released the video, the second in two days, after weeks in which protesters, for and against the military campaign, have demonstrated around the world and while the United Nations, aid groups and many countries have criticized to Israel, they have asked for a ceasefire. and warned of calamities in hospitals. In recent days, President Biden has also urged Israel to exercise restraint around medical centers, saying: “Hospitals must be protected.”

Israel claims that Hamas has dug a network of tunnels beneath Gaza hospitals, using the patients and workers inside them as human shields for its command centers and safe houses. The United States has backed Israel’s description, saying it has intelligence to that effect. Hamas and hospital officials have denied the allegations.

To convince skeptics of its claim, Israel released videos from inside Gaza’s main children’s hospital, showing what it said were weapons and explosives found there, and a room where the military said hostages had been held.

“This is not the last hospital like this in Gaza, and the world should know that,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman. “It’s a crime”.

While Gaza’s Health Ministry on Tuesday disputed almost all of the statements made in the initial Israeli video, it acknowledged that the footage had been taken inside the Al-Rantisi Specialized Hospital for Children in northern Gaza. The last patients and staff are believed to have left the hospital over the weekend after it was surrounded by Israeli forces.

The first Israeli video, a six-minute presentation released Monday, shows Admiral Hagari leading viewers through what he says is the entrance to a tunnel that supposedly runs to the hospital, and shows weapons found in the hospital basement. It shows guns, explosives and other weapons arranged as if made by police showing off the loot from a drug raid. The origin of the weapons could not be independently confirmed.

The Israeli military followed up on Tuesday, posting a second shorter video on social networks. It lasts just over two minutes and purports to show troops rushing into the building, and includes clips of them finding explosives, weapons and a room where Admiral Hagari claims hostages were being held in the previously released video.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamadan, speaking at a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday, called the first presentation a “lie and farce.” There was no immediate comment from Gaza or Hamas officials on the second video.

Both videos contained claims that could not immediately be verified.

A piece of paper taped to a hospital basement wall, for example, quickly became a topic of debate. Admiral Hagari said the document (a grid with Arabic words and numbers inside each square) could be a schedule for guarding the hostages “where each terrorist writes his name.”

However, the document did not include people’s names: the Arabic words were days of the week and the numbers below were dates. Gaza’s Health Ministry said in a statement that the document was nothing more than “a regular work shift schedule, a standard administrative practice in hospitals.”

The ministry did not address a key detail: The calendar begins on October 7, and an Arabic title written at the top uses Hamas’ name for the attack: “Al Aqsa Flood Battle, 7/10/2023.”

Regarding the weapons shown in the video, the ministry said: “We don’t know where they got them from.”

Dr. Mustafa Al Kahlout, director of the hospital, said on Tuesday that families fleeing Israeli shelling had sought refuge in Al-Rantisi and other hospitals. He called on the Red Cross and other international organizations to “inspect all hospitals.”

The White House on Tuesday supported Israel’s description of Hamas’s use of hospitals for military purposes, although it declined to provide specific details. “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,” the National Security Council spokesman said. . John F. Kirby told reporters.

“We do not support attacking a hospital from the air,” he added. “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.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday that Israeli forces now control “the surface area” of northern Gaza – a description that deliberately omitted underground tunnels – and could turn toward southern Gaza, as they prepare for the possibility of “long wars”. months” of struggle ahead.

As Israeli troops have closed in, hospitals in northern Gaza have become a focus of international concern. The World Health Organization said on Sunday that Al-Shifa “no longer functions as a hospital” and warned of a “terrible and dangerous” situation for patients and thousands of people taking refuge there. Hospital officials said Monday that about three dozen premature babies were without incubators due to a lack of power.

Israeli officials, in defending the campaign, have emphasized that they are trying to limit the damage to Gaza’s more than two million civilians. Although the Biden administration has expressed skepticism about the tolls issued by Gaza authorities, “many thousands” of civilians have died, Kirby said last week.

The Israeli military said late Monday it was working to deliver mobile incubators and ventilators to Al-Shifa Hospital in a bid to help evacuate babies there. In a statement, the military said it was “willing to work with any credible mediator to ensure the transfer of the incubators.”

The New York Times was unable to reach the hospital director or a spokesperson for Gaza’s Health Ministry to ask about Israel’s offer, the details of which remained unclear.

Israel also sought to shed more light on the brutality of the Oct. 7 attack, when Hamas gunmen killed about 1,200 people in Israel and took more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Kobi Shabtai, Israel’s police chief, showed body camera videos of the slain Hamas terrorists, surveillance footage, crime scene photographs and a video of an Israeli woman. who reported seeing terrorists gang-raping a young woman captured at a music festival in the desert.

“This is the most extensive investigation the State of Israel has ever known,” Chief Shabtai said. “There was a massacre here: crimes against humanity. “We have evidence of acts of murder, rape, amputations, burning of people alive, sexual abuse and confirmation of death and kidnapping.”

The briefing was one of several Israeli officials held for journalists in which they shared graphic photos and videos from Oct. 7, and the images included some they had shown before. Some of the videos seen on Tuesday, including those showing people being killed, were posted on social media by the attackers. Others could not be independently verified.

“The world needs to know what we are facing,” said Chief Shabtai.

The report was contributed by Anat Schwartz, Iyad Abuheweila, Aaron Boxerman, Daniel Victor, Ronen Bergman, Talya Minsberg, Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Hiba Yazbek.

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