Israel has released footage it claims shows bloodied hostages being strong-armed into the Al-Shifa hospital grounds on the day of the October 7 massacre.
In an effort to prove definitively Hamas’s use of the complex, the Israel Defense Forces staged a press conference in which its spokesman pointed to footage of two abductees, one with a bloodied arm, being led into the hospital.
They also showed images of an IDF jeep taken from Israel during the rampage earlier that morning and a white pickup truck of the type used by the terrorists in the attacks.
They had earlier released what they said were details of a “55-metre-long” tunnel, 10 metres beneath the grounds.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesman, said: “By now the truth is clear - Hamas is waging terror from hospitals.”
It came as at least 30 premature babies were evacuated from Gaza’s main Al-Shifa hospital on Sunday, after the World Health Organisation described it as a “death zone”.
The infants, many of whom have reportedly lost their parents, were removed ahead of a transfer to specialist care in Egypt, the Hamas-controlled health ministry said.
The plight of newborns in a hospital with barely any functioning equipment had become the subject of acute concern following the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) circling of and subsequent entry into the facility last week, which it says is to root out terrorist infrastructure on the site.
They were among 291 patients still there on Saturday, according to the WHO, many of whom were in a critical state with spinal injuries, infected wounds and other conditions.
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israel’s prime minister, said on Sunday that IDF troops had found a “command and control room on the minus 2 floor” of the hospital.
The IDF said soldiers had “exposed a 55-metre-long terror tunnel”, 10 metres beneath the Al-Shifa hospital complex, including a blast-proof door and a firing hole.
During Sunday night’s briefing, Admiral Hagari said time-stamped video from 10:50 am on October 7 shows Hamas pulling up at the hospital and using it to drop off hostages.
At 10:55, Hagari said, Hamas can be seen taking a hostage inside the hospital.
“He doesn’t even look like he needs treatment but they are taking him inside the hospital.”
Mr Hagari said the same hostage can be seen a few minutes earlier entering the main entrance to the hospital accompanied by gunmen.
Also at 10:55 am, the terrorists enter the hospital with another hostage, Mr Hagari said.
“The gunmen are guarding the room.”
“We have not yet located both of these hostages and rescued them. We do not know where they are.”
He also accused Hamas of murdering 19-year-old Corporal Noa Marciano, who was abducted on October 7, in the Al-Shifa hospital grounds.
Neither Hagari’s claims about Marciano nor the alleged hospital footage has been independently verified.
The government has claimed Hamas used the site as the “beating heart” of its operations. But the US says its intelligence suggests the presence of a command and control “node”.
It came as the IDF’s chief of staff approved plans to continue the ground offensive in the beleaguered enclave, ahead of a widely expected push south.
The military said its operations around the Rimal area of Gaza city, in the north of the strip, had found a base used by Hamas’s intelligence, as well as the residences of senior Hamas officials.
Sixty-three Israeli soldiers are now confirmed to have been killed in the fighting, including Binyamin Meir Airley, whose British father Rob Airley described him as a “leader” who “personified modesty.
He said the 21-year-old paratrooper had entered a house that had already been attacked by an Israeli tank, incorrectly thinking the Hamas terrorists inside had been killed.
The fighting took place amid growing international hope for a deal to secure the release of a significant number of the 240 hostages seized during the October 7 massacre.
Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, told journalists on Sunday that his government was hopeful a breakthrough could be reached “within days”.
White House Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer said the White House believed the “vast majority” of the hostages were “most likely” alive, while the prime minister of Qatar, which is hosting the negotiations, suggested that only “minor details”, stood in the way of a deal.
In the same interview, Mr Finer suggested that a temporary cessation of fighting could allow the way for better humanitarian aid to Gaza, a possibility that will be seized on by the UN and other aid bodies, who continued to excoriate the IDF for its treatment of Palestinian civilians.
Secretary General Antonion Guterres said he was “deeply shocked” about the treatment of two UN schools, which he said had been attacked in less than 24 hours.
“Dozens of people – many women and children – were killed and injured as they were seeking safety in United Nations premises,” he said.
Meanwhile at the Nuseirat refugee camp, situated between Gaza City and Khan Yunis, 31 people were reportedly killed, including two journalists.
Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says the number of facilities hit and civilians killed cannot just be “collateral damage”.
The IDF says it endeavours to avoid civilian casualties, although last week Mr Netanyahu said Israel had been “unsuccessful” in this regard.
A doctor at the al-Amal hospital in Khan Yunis said the facility was now home to 9,000 displaced people.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it was suffering its seventh consecutive day of power and water outage.
Within Israel, an event was held to highlight the massacre of more than 360 people at the Nova festival rave on October 7.
It coincided with a report in Haaretz newspaper, citing a police source, that during the Hamas rampage an IDF helicopter accidentally killed civilians while engaging the terrorists, a claim that was vehemently denied by the military.
In the West Bank, at least two people were killed in another Israeli raid, according to Palestinian Red Crescent, including a 5-year-old man who was killed in Jenin and another person who died in Dheisheh refugee camp.
Later in the day injuries were also reported during a raid at Balata refugee camp, near Nablus.
Amid growing concern over violence towards Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Joe Biden ordered officials to draw up visa bans and sanctions for extremist settlers, Politico reported.