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Day 40: After weeks of preparation, IDF carries out precise and dramatic operation in Shifa Hospital

Hospital raid reportedly launched after intel suggested hostages were still present in underground facilities

Palestinians seen at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Nov. 10, 2023. Photo by Flash90

Israel Defense Forces announced early on Wednesday morning that a group of soldiers conducted “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas” in a section of the Al-Shifa Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. 

“The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza,” the IDF said in a statement. 

The operation included “medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields,” according to the IDF.

Israel sent a warning to the Hamas-controlled Gaza authorities on Tuesday saying that military operations within the hospital must stop. However, it says the warning was unheeded. 

The IDF also said it has been in regular contact with hospital officials over the past few days to facilitate evacuations of the patients and to transfer supplies, such as incubators, baby food, and medical supplies, to the hospital. 

Prior to the operation, the IDF said it opened an evacuation corridor from one section of the hospital. 

Shortly before the IDF Spokesperson's announcement, Ashraf al-Qidra, a Hamas spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, said Israel had informed him of its intention to raid the hospital "in the next few minutes.” 

An anonymous IDF security official spoke with Army Radio on Wednesday morning, saying that the operation in the hospital will be widened as necessary. 

“We are starting small, and the operation will expand as necessary,” the official said, admitting the challenge was more public relations than operational.

“The entry of troops into al-Shifa is more of a challenge for media than operations,” the official stated. 

He said the IDF waited for precise intelligence before conducting the operation. 

“The decision was that we enter al-Shifa only if we know exactly what is there and where it is, as we did at Rantisi Hospital, which was only [entered] when we knew exactly what was in its basement,” the official stated. 

Youssef Abul Reesh, an official from the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, described seeing Israeli tanks at the al-Shifa Hospital compound, as well as “dozens of soldiers and commandos inside the emergency and reception buildings.” 

According to Hebrew media reports, the IDF believes that the hostages are being held captive underneath the hospital in the Hamas tunnel complex. 

Meanwhile, Hamas accused U.S. President Joe Biden of being “wholly responsible” for the IDF operation at Shifa Hospital. 

“We hold the occupation [Israel] and President Biden wholly responsible for the assault on the Al-Shifa medical complex,” the terror group said in a statement. 

White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby refused to comment specifically about the operation, only stating, "As we've said, we don't want to see an exchange of fire in a medical center where innocent, helpless and sick people trying to get the medical care they deserve are caught in the crossfire.” 

The IDF also announced it had completed its takeover of the Shati neighborhood in Gaza City, which was home to a Hamas training facility and command post. 

Weapons found in the Hamas training camp in a photo released on Nov. 15, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

The IDF also said that units raided a Hamas training base where tunnel shafts, dozens of weapons and tactical supplies of various kinds were found, including rockets and RPG launchers, as well as classrooms and intelligence materials. 


This is a developing story. Precise details of the Shifa Hospital operation have not yet been released. When further details are approved for release, this article will be updated. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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