Israel’s military on Wednesday released a video that it claims shows the dismantlement of a tunnel route it accuses Hamas of excavating under Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the underground tunnel route was dismantled on November 24 by special forces and soldiers from the Yahalom Unit, which specializes in engineering tasks.
The IDF claims the hospital was not damaged and that humanitarian activities were able to continue while it dismantled the tunnel route, which it says spanned more than 250 meters.
CNN cannot independently verify the IDF’s claims.
Israel accused Hamas of developing the tunnel system beneath the hospital and connecting it to nearby tunnel shafts and other Hamas centers to carry out “terrorist operations,” which Hamas has repeatedly denied.
The IDF also insisted that Hamas systematically operates in Gaza hospitals and adjacent areas, “using the residents as human shields.” Hamas has previously denied using the hospital as a command hub.
US intelligence: On Tuesday, the United States reiterated its assessment that Hamas and other Gaza militants used Al-Shifa Hospital as a command hub as well as to hold hostages and store weapons, with a senior intelligence official pointing to newly declassified intelligence that reinforces the conclusion of Israeli and US intelligence.
“The US Intelligence Community is confident in its judgment on this topic and has independently corroborated information on Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic Jiahd]’s use of the hospital complex for a variety of purposes related to its campaign against Israel,” the official said Tuesday.
But the US intelligence community did not release any new evidence to support its assessment after questions were raised about to what extent the Al-Shifa Hospital was indeed the “beating heart” of Hamas operations, as Israel had claimed.
In late December, the Washington Post published an extensive investigation that cast doubt on some of Israel’s claims.
Israel had come under widespread criticism for its November siege and assault on the struggling hospital, where doctors had described the situation as “catastrophic.”