White House Confirms Hamas is Using Gaza Hospital for Military Operations

Kirby confirmed that members of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operate a command and control node from al-Shifa in Gaza City

In a press conference aboard Air Force One, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Tuesday that Hamas terrorists are utilizing Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa, and the tunnels beneath it as a base for military operations and to hold hostages. This revelation supports weeks of claims by the Israeli military as they pursue a ground operation in the Gaza strip.

John Kirby

Kirby revealed, "I can confirm for you that we have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad used some hospitals in the Gaza strip, including Al-Shifa, and tunnels underneath them to conceal and support their military operations and to hold hostages." According to him, members of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operate a command and control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City, storing weapons and preparing to respond to an Israeli military operation against the facility.

al-shifa hospital gaza

Despite the confirmation, Kirby emphasized that the Biden administration does not endorse airstrikes on hospitals and is concerned about civilians seeking treatment becoming collateral damage in conflicts within these facilities. He stressed that the Israeli military bears an "added burden" to protect civilians due to Hamas embedding itself within the Palestinian population.

Regarding the intelligence supporting the confirmation, Kirby mentioned that it came from "a variety of intelligence sourcing" but refrained from providing further details to protect sources and methods. He condemned Hamas' use of the hospital as a "war crime" and reiterated the administration's stance against a cease-fire in the ongoing conflict.

Video footage released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) this week appears to substantiate claims that Hamas has been using tunnel systems connecting to hospitals for its operations. Experts suggest that Al-Shifa hospital could pose a significant challenge to Israel's ongoing military operation.

Israeli forces have already entered Al-Shifa hospital this morning as part of IDF's ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza. The Israeli military said it had killed several militants at the outset of the raid, and claimed they had been confronted by "explosive devices and terrorist squads".