beating heart of their operations
Israeli troops raid Gaza’s Shifa hospital
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GAZA, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Israeli troops found a command centre and weapons and combat gear belonging to Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza’s biggest hospital on Wednesday, Israel’s military said, in a campaign that stoked global alarm over the fate of civilians inside.
Al Shifa hospital had become the chief target of a Gaza City incursion by Israeli forces, who said the “beating heart” of the Hamas fighters’ operations was headquartered in tunnels beneath it. Hamas denied the accusation and on Wednesday dismissed the Israeli statements as “lies and cheap propaganda”.
Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the troops were still searching, having entered the hospital early on Wednesday after days of clashes around it.
The military simultaneously released a video it said showed some of the materials it recovered from an undisclosed building in the hospital compound, including automatic weapons, grenades, ammunition and flak jackets.
In one hospital department, “the soldiers located an operational command centre and technological assets belonging to Hamas, indicating that the terrorist organization uses the hospital for terrorist purposes,” an Israeli military statement said.
Israel has consistently said the hospital sits above a Hamas headquarters, an assertion the United States said on Tuesday was supported by its own intelligence.
Hailing the entry of his forces into the hospital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: “There is no place in Gaza that we cannot reach. There are no hideouts.”
“We will reach and eliminate Hamas and we will bring back our hostages. These are two sacred missions,” he said.