Tunnel discovered at Al Shifa, used for Hamas operations. (Image Credits: Reuters)

Hamas tunnel uncovered at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza

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The Israeli army has discovered a tunnel shaft at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, which was being used by Hamas militants to transport weapons and fighters. In a video released by the IDF, the tunnel entrance is shown quite clearly in the outer area of the Al Shifa Hospital.

Two sides of the Al Shifa offensive

This development corroborates the intelligence received by the Israeli Defense Force suggesting that Hamas militants are using schools, medical facilities and other public buildings to run their operations from, by setting up command bases.

These bases are supplied by an intricate network of tunnels which allow Hamas fighters to moves safely, while also transporting resources with relative convenience, despite the bombardments above.

The United Nations have expressed concern as aid movement through Gaza’s Rafah crossing with Egypt has been ceased for Friday.

The video, which was questioned for its authenticity initially, has since been verified, changing the opinions of many about Israel’s offensive to a certain degree.

The IDF also stated that a vehicle laden with weapons was found inside the hospital compound, obviously being used by Hamas fighters to resupply their reserves as they clashed with the Israeli Defense Forces.

In an official statement regarding these discoveries, Hamas has countered the prevailing narrative, saying that the United States intelligence claims released by the Pentagon are false. According to them, the notion that Hamas was using Al Shifa Hospital as a military command center “is a repetition of a blatantly false narrative, demonstrated by the weak and ridiculous performances of the occupation army spokesman.”

White House spokesperson, John Kirby clarified on Thursday that the United States and its intelligence apparatus is quite confident about the accuracy of said reports regarding Hamas operations out of Al Shifa Hospital and would prefer not to expand on their claims, so as not to compromise their sources.

Failing communication systems

Gaza’s only two telecom companies have stated that they lack the energy sources to continue to function, leading to a breakdown of the communications grid. While Hamas has complained about Israel’s decision to block all fuel imports into Gaza, Israel has stated that it does not want Hamas to use said imports for military purposes, as is the norm.

Both the companies, Paltel and Jawwal have become inoperable as their internet, landline and mobile services have gone down as of Thursday night.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini gave his two cents on the matter, “If the fuel does not come in, people will start to die because of the lack of fuel. Exactly as from when, I don’t know. But it will be sooner rather than later.”

Conflict beyond Northern Gaza

High ranking officials of the Israeli Defense Forces, such as the Chief of Staff, have stated that they are close to annihilating Hamas’s military apparatus in the northern region. Speculation is rife that Israeli forces will now continue onto other regions.

Pamphlets have been distributed in southern Gaza, in four towns specifically, where civilians have been asked to evacuate for their own safety.

This is an important change in tact as the southern region of Gaza was initially marked as safe for civilians.