Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have used Gaza hospitals to store weapons and hold hostages, and are prepared to fight the IDF from medical facilities, John Kirby said.

Smoke rises as displaced Palestinians take shelter at Al Shifa hospital, amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, in Gaza City, November 8, 2023.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DOAA ROUQA)

The IDF entered a specific area of Shifa Hospital early Wednesday morning while seeking to keep its exact goals, timing, and mission classified as the operation is still ongoing, as leaking certain details could endanger IDF forces.

The military also announced that they successfully delivered crucial medical equipment and supplies, such as incubators for babies and baby food.

In foreign media, it was reported that IDF spokespeople hinted at the possibility of finding hostages held by Hamas, similar to having found a hostage holding area under Rantisi Hospital earlier this week.

However, the military has not said anything concrete about hostages being located at Shifa; as of 9:00 a.m., its main finding was a significant stash of Hamas weaponry.

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike near the Indonesian Hospital that ran out of fuel and electricity, in the northern Gaza Strip, November 12, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/Anas al-Shareef)

Although the IDF killed five Hamas terrorists on its way into Shifa, it has not encountered any violent resistance within the hospital itself so far. The situation is dynamic, however, as the IDF plans to search other specific areas of what is a very large hospital complex.

There are also vast underground tunnel networks under and around Shifa and it was unclear if this IDF operation would lead to penetrating those areas or if it might be more of an initial intelligence-collecting operation, much the way that there were three brief intelligence-collecting moves into Gaza in the days before the actual main invasion in late October.

No IDF forces have been harmed so far in the current Shifa operation.

The military would not address foreign media reports that it had entered through some kind of side wall as opposed to through a designated entrance.

Shifa Hospital’s terror infrastructure

Communications for the hospital have not been shut down by the IDF, despite some foreign reports.

The IDF identified the current operation as very precise and gradual, saying that it was unaware so far of the accuracy of a video surfacing on social media showing one woman inside the hospital wounded by some kind of shrapnel or other broken building materials.

Since 2014, the IDF has said that Shifa served as Hamas’s wartime command center and refuge for its top leaders.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post