March 1, 2024

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The United States doubles its assessment of Hamas' use of the Gaza hospital as a command center

The United States doubles its assessment of Hamas' use of the Gaza hospital as a command center



CNN

The United States doubled its assessment that Hamas and other militants in Gaza had used the Strip The largest hospital complex As a command center as well as for hostage-taking and weapons storage, where a senior intelligence official points to newly declassified intelligence that corroborates the conclusions of Israeli and American intelligence.

“The US intelligence community is confident in its judgment on this matter and has independently confirmed information related to Hamas and… [Palestinian Islamic Jiahd]The official said Tuesday that Israel is using the hospital complex for a variety of purposes related to its campaign against Israel.

But the US intelligence community did not release any new evidence to support its assessment after questions were raised about the extent to which Shifa Hospital was actually the “beating heart” of Hamas operations, as Israel claimed.

In late December, the Washington Post reported published an extensive investigation Which casts doubt on some of Israel's claims.

Israel was widely criticized for its November siege and assault on the struggling hospital, with doctors describing the situation as “catastrophic.”

New intelligence Repeat Previous claims by the Biden administration and Israel in the days and weeks leading up to the Israeli raid on Shifa Hospital in November, that intelligence indicated that Hamas had a command and control node in the tunnels beneath the hospital complex.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the hospital was being used to store weapons and hold hostages.

US intelligence still believes that, according to the senior official, who added that the site was holding “at least a small number of hostages.”

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“We have information that we obtained after November 15 [Israel Defense Forces] The official said: “Hamas members in the hospital had been largely evacuated days earlier as the IDF approached the Shifa compound and that Hamas had destroyed documents and electronics in the compound prior to the IDF operation.”

After Israel took control of the area, the army released a series of videos by its spokesmen showing weapons allegedly found inside the hospital itself as well as a tunnel system under the hospital.

In November, Hamas admitted to using the hospital to bring in hostages, “carefully monitoring their health” before detaining them in various locations, after Israel released a video from the hospital's security cameras showing the hostages being brought inside. But Hamas denied using the hospital as a command center.

CNN traveled with the Israeli military to the Shifa Hospital complex to see the exposed tunnel opening in November. The Israeli military then released a video showing a tunnel extending from the shaft and continuing beneath the hospital complex.

in video In a statement to the IDF on November 22, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari entered the tunnels and showed a tiled room as well as a bathroom that Hagari said were located beneath the hospital and connected to its power system.

But it stopped short of proving that Hamas used the hospital as a primary command and control point for its operations, an assertion repeatedly repeated by Israel and the United States before the IDF arrived at the hospital. Israel went so far as to publish a 3D illustration of the Hamas command center extending directly underground from the hospital buildings. Neither Israel nor the United States has published evidence that exactly matches these allegations.

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