Hagari described how the IDF had found evidence that Hamas terrorists had returned from the October 7 massacre in southern Israel to Rantisi Hospital, after slaughtering Israelis in their homes. He described how there was evidence and independent separate intelligence that Hamas terrorists had returned directly to the hospital after their attacks and mass killings of Israelis on 7 October.
A video showing the hospital basement revealed a place disconnected from the rest of the medical facility where a significant stockpile of terrorist explosives and weapons was kept, writes the Jerusalem Post.
The IDF showed a motorcycle with a bullet hole in it and objects connected to one of the hostages in the vicinity of the motorcycle. One of the chairs showed ropes and other objects that indicated a hostage had been held there.
A baby bottle and other baby material were found which the IDF said were linked to a hostage. There were also makeshift toilets, which Hagari said were infrastructure for holding hostages.
He said he was not sure if the terrorists used the evacuation to escape or used additional networks of underground tunnels.
– Hamas is hiding in hospitals. Today we will expose this to the world, he said.
Hagari told The Times of Israel that the IDF had been working to enable the safe evacuation of patients from Rantisi over the past week, as well as from other hospitals in northern Gaza.
– This is because our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza. Especially not the sick, the women or the children, he said.
– Our war is against Hamas using them as human shields, Hagari added, pointing out that the terrorists may have exited the hospital with the patients.
Other Gaza hospitals are also used by Hamas and other terrorists.
– It is a war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime against international law, said Hagari.
– We will free our hostages from Gaza and free Gaza from Hamas – for the sake of the people of Israel, for the sake of the people of Gaza as well, and for the world.
In late October, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) described how Hamas had placed a headquarters under Gaza’s Shifa Hospital and how for years Hamas has used thousands of patients, doctors and staff in the building to protect its underground headquarters.
Rocket fire from hospital area
Beneath Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, lies a maze of tunnels and underground facilities used by Hamas leaders to direct terrorist activities and rocket fire, as well as to manufacture and store an array of weapons and ammunition. In addition, the hospital’s generators have been used to launch rockets.
The entrance to Hamas’ underground headquarters consists of a number of tunnel shafts adjacent to the hospital. Additional entrances are located in various departments of the hospital, including the emergency department, putting all patients at risk.
Both Israeli and international press have historically reported on Hamas operatives roaming the corridors of Shifa Hospital in the past, as far back as 2008.
The Shifa hospital is one of the most important examples of how Hamas threatens civilians in Gaza.
Their use of the sick and injured to protect their weapons and terrorist infrastructure is undeniable, unethical and tragically unsurprising, the IDF pointed out, which said Hamas’ abuse of civilians underscores the need to dismantle the terrorist organization’s military capabilities and chain of command.