War between Israel and Hamas: live updates and latest news | ET REALITY

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The Israeli military was consolidating its control over the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital on Wednesday, after storming the complex overnight. Soldiers were conducting searches and interrogations inside, and Israeli officials said they had found rifles, ammunition, body armor and other military equipment in a radiology building.

in a video Filmed at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, showed around 10 Hamas weapons, ammunition, protective vests and military uniforms, some of which he said were hidden behind of MRI machines, others in nearby warehouses. units and some behind what he described as an “explosion-proof door.” The claims made in the video could not be independently verified.

Hamas, which has repeatedly denied using the hospital for military operations, issued a statement calling the Israeli claims “a made-up story that no one would believe.” A Hamas official, Bassem Naim, speaking to Al Jazeera, dismissed the video as falsified “theatre.”

Al-Shifa Hospital has become a central element of Israel’s 40-day effort to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas, and its capture by Israel was a significant step that could determine the pace and scope of its war. with Hamas. Israel maintains that Hamas built a military command center at the hospital, using its patients and staff as human shields.

The seizure of Al-Shifa, along with any evidence the Israelis present about Hamas’ military presence there, could affect international sentiment about the invasion, as well as ongoing negotiations to release hostages captured by Hamas last month. Gaza authorities said Wednesday that the Israelis were in control of the complex.

Israeli soldiers briefly exchanged fire with gunmen outside the hospital before entering, a senior military officer said, but more than 12 hours after it began, the operation looked more like a police raid than a pitched battle.

A senior Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the continuation of the operation, said troops were interrogating people inside the hospital and had found weapons, but declined to provide evidence or further details.

A Palestinian man inside a surgery building in the hospital complex said word had spread among people there about interrogations and searches, including excavations, and that a tight cordon of Israeli armored vehicles had closed around the hospital.

Little information was available on Wednesday afternoon as communications were disrupted in Gaza City.

Palestinian officials, heads of United Nations agencies and some Middle East regional leaders condemned the incursion and warned that it put the lives of Gaza’s most vulnerable at risk.

For years, Israel has said that Hamas built a military command center beneath the hospital, turning its patients into human shields.

For Palestinians, Al-Shifa Hospital is a civilian institution that for weeks has served as a shelter for thousands of displaced Gazans, as well as the seriously ill and injured. Hamas and the hospital management deny its use as a military base.

The Israeli army invaded Gaza last month after approximately 1,200 people were killed in Hamas-led attacks on Israel on October 7. Since then, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Gaza health officials, one of the highest casualty tolls. in any air campaign of this century.

The Hamas government’s media office in Gaza said in a statement that Israeli soldiers had beaten patients and displaced people taking refuge in the hospital and expelled others from the complex.

Muhammad Zaqout, a senior Gaza health official, said at a news conference that Israeli soldiers had first entered part of a surgery department before taking control of the radiology and cardiology departments.

Due to the communications breakdown, The New York Times was unable to reach hospital administrators. The Palestinian interviewed by telephone in the hospital operating room said he had not heard of anyone being beaten.

Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed reporting from Ibillin, Israel.

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