Israeli troops near Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital, which is having difficulty operating | ET REALITY

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Israeli military intelligence said in a statement provided to the New York Times that “there are several underground complexes used by the leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization to direct their activities.” The complex relies in part on electricity diverted from Al Shifa, according to the statement, and there are multiple entrances in and around the hospital.

Senior Israeli intelligence officials allowed the Times to review photographs purporting to show secret entrances to the complex from inside the hospital. Signs identifying the location as Al Shifa were clearly visible in the photographs, although their authenticity could not be independently verified.

The US officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose sensitive intelligence, said they are confident that Hamas has used networks of tunnels beneath hospitals, particularly Al Shifa, for command and control areas as well as weapons storage.

Hamas’ practice has been long-standing, they said, adding that the United States and Israel have independently developed intelligence about Hamas’ use of the tunnel network under Al Shifa Hospital.

There are also other accounts of Hamas using Al Shifa. In 2008, armed Hamas fighters in civilian clothes were seen wandering around the hospital during a three-week war between the militants and Israel, the New York Times in Gaza reported at the time. The militants claimed to be security guards, but were seen killing suspected Israeli collaborators.

Six years later, during the next round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, militants routinely held press conferences on the hospital grounds and used it as a safe meeting place for Hamas officials to speak to journalists, although these activities They do not constitute military use.

After the war, Amnesty International stated in a report that Hamas was using abandoned areas of Al Shifa, “including the outpatient clinic area, to detain, interrogate, torture and otherwise mistreat suspects, even as other parts of the hospital continued to function as a medical facility.”

Two Norwegian doctors who worked at Al Shifa during the war, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, disputed the report and insisted that there was no Hamas presence at the hospital. Mr. Gilbert, an activist who describes himself as a “political doctor” was particularly outspoken against Israel and was supposedly prohibited of Israel and Gaza in 2014.

Matthew Rosenberg reported from London, Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv, Aaron Boxerman of Jerusalem and Vivian Yee from Cairo. Julian Barnes and Peter Panadero contributed reporting from Washington and Abu Bakr Bashir from London.

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