JERUSALEM, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Israel on Sunday stepped up allegations of Hamas abuses at the Gaza Strip’s main hospital, saying a captured soldier had been executed and two foreign hostages held at a site that has been the focus of its devastating six weeks. -old offensive.
At one time a shelter for tens of thousands of Palestinian war refugees, Al Shifa Hospital has evacuated patients and staff since Israeli troops swept in last week on what they called a mission to root out hidden Hamas facilities.
Israel is also looking for about 240 people whom Hamas kidnapped to Gaza after an Oct. 7 cross-border attack that sparked the war.
One of these was a 19-year-old Israeli conscript, Noa Marciano, whose body was found near Shifa last week. Hamas said she died in an Israeli airstrike and released a video that appeared to show her body, unmarked except for a head wound.
The Israeli military said a forensic examination showed she had sustained non-life-threatening injuries from such an attack.
“According to intelligence – solid intelligence – Noa was taken by Hamas terrorists within the walls of Shifa Hospital. There she was murdered by a Hamas terrorist,” said Chief Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.
He did not elaborate.
In his televised briefing, Hagari said Hamas gunmen had also brought a Nepalese and a Thai, among foreign workers seized in the October 7 raid, to Shifa. He did not name the two hostages.
CCTV video released by Hagari appeared to show a group of men frog-marching a person into a hospital, to the surprise of medical staff. Another clip showed an injured man on a stretcher. Another man nearby, in civilian clothes, had an assault rifle.
Hamas did not immediately comment on Hagari’s statements. The Palestinian Islamist group, which runs Gaza, has previously said it took some hostages to hospitals for treatment.
Separately on Sunday, the Israeli military released a video of what it described as a tunnel that runs 55 meters in length and was dug by Palestinians 10 meters below the Shifa area.
While Hamas acknowledges that it has a network of hundreds of kilometers of secret tunnels, bunkers and access shafts throughout the Palestinian enclave, Hamas has denied that these are located in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.
The video showed a narrow passage with curved concrete roofing that ended at what the military described in a statement as an explosion-proof door.
The statement did not say what might be outside the door. The tunnel had been accessed through a shaft discovered in a shed in the Shifa compound, which contained ammunition, it said. Another video showed an outdoor shaft opening in the building.
Mounir El Barsh, director of Gaza’s health ministry, dismissed the Israeli statement about the tunnel as a “pure lie”.
“They have been in the hospital for eight days … and yet they have found nothing,” he told Al Jazeera television.
Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by David Holmes and Alex Richardson
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