Israel Yet To Uncover Evidence Of Hamas Command Centre Beneath Al-Shifa Hospital
According to residents, Israeli forces dropped leaflets on Thursday warning Palestinians to flee parts of southern Gaza, signaling a potential expansion of military operations to areas where scores of people who followed earlier evacuation orders are crowded.
Brodening the offensive to the south could be a major escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict, now in its sixth week. More than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in the Gaza Strip, with most having fled to the south of the enclave, where basic supplies remain scarce.
Ground Operation To Include Both North And South
The leaflets warned people to evacuate, saying anyone in the vicinity of militants is at risk. Israel had dropped similar leaflets over north ahead of the ground invasion. On Wednesday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the operation will eventually “include both the north and south”.
The war was triggered by an unprecedented attack on Israeli cities by Hamas on October 7. More than 1,200 people lost their lives in the assault. Israel responded with a weekslong air campaign and a ground invasion of northern Gaza, promising to remove Hamas from power.
At least 11,200 Palestinians have been killed in the retaliatory strikes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza. On Wednesday, Israeli troops stormed into the enclave’s largest medical complex, searching for alleged traces of Hamas inside and beneath the facility.
Search Of Al-Shifa Hospital Yet To Reveal Hamas Base
After encircling al-Shifa for days, Israel faced pressure to prove its claim that Hamas was using the patients, staff and civilians sheltering there as human shield for its fighters. Hamas and Gaza health officials, however, strongly deny militants operate in the hospital.
The military has released video from inside al-Shifa showing duffel bags it said it found hidden around an MRI lab, each containing grenades, Hamas uniforms and an assault rifle. The Associated Press said it couldn’t independently verify the Israeli claims.