IDF Exposes Hamas Command, Hostage Holding under Hospital

Nov 14, 2023 8:33 pm | Ticker, Virtual Jerusalem

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has uncovered a Hamas command center situated beneath the Rantisi Pediatric Hospital in Gaza City. The IDF’s claims suggest a grave abuse of civilian infrastructure for militant purposes, including a likely holding cell for female and infants.

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, describing the discovery, said, “Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control center, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc.” Hagari’s statement came as part of an English-language press conference, where he also claimed the IDF had found evidence indicating that hostages were held at this location by Hamas operatives.

The operation, led by the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit and the 401st Armored Brigade, has unearthed what Hagari described as “indications that some of the Israeli hostages captured during the 7 October assault were held there.” Among the evidence, he pointed to a chair with ropes and improvised toilets. The IDF released footage showing the basement of the hospital and the supposed armory with grenades, bombs, and RPGs. Hagari highlighted the risks that explosives posed to patients above.

Rear Admiral Hagari took international reporters into the tunnel leading to the basement of the Rantisi hospital, emphasizing the unfortunate reality of terrorist-infested hospitals and underground tunnels in Gaza. The footage displayed by the IDF shows the Spokesperson navigating through the tunnel and emerging in the hospital’s basement, where, according to signs, Israeli hostages were previously detained by Hamas terrorists.

According to CNN, during a media visit organized by the IDF, a spokesperson alleged parts of the basement had been a Hamas “command and control center” and might have been used to hold hostages. A CNN team embedded with the IDF was shown guns and explosives in one room beneath Al-Rantisi children’s hospital. Rear Admiral Hagari referred to the findings as an “armory” and highlighted various items, including a chair with a rope next to it and a piece of women’s clothing, expected to be tested for DNA, and a makeshift toilet.

The IDF has been scrutinized for conducting operations in proximity to Gaza hospitals, but it maintains that Hamas commanders are hiding beneath these hospitals, using not just civilians but all patients as human shields. The Rantisi hospital was encircled by Israeli tanks on November 9, amid the ongoing conflict that has seen extensive casualties on both sides.

Israeli troops had been carrying out operations inside Al-Rantisi only hours before the media’s visit, Hagari disclosed, adding that a forensic team would examine the material left in the basement to confirm any potential links to the hostages taken by Hamas during its rampage in Israel on October 7. The IDF is also investigating the connection between an apparent tunnel entrance and the rooms under the hospital.

This development in the conflict has been reported by multiple news outlets globally, with headlines from CNN highlighting the IDF’s focus on hospitals in Gaza. These reports, accompanied by statements from U.S. officials, underline the delicate balance between military operations and the protection of civilians in areas of conflict.

The incident has brought to light the cruel realities of Hamas, exploiting civilian structures for military advantage and to realize terror plans, complicating efforts to safeguard non-combatants and challenging international norms regarding the conduct of war. The IDF’s uncovering of the Rantisi Hospital’s basement has added to the ongoing evidence of war crimes.