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US 'Still Convinced' of Hamas Using Al-Shifa Hospital as Command Center Amid Ongoing Israeli Raid

"White House Stands Firm on Claim: Al-Shifa Hospital Used by Hamas as Command Center Amid Ongoing Israeli Raid

Amid increasing scrutiny of the Israeli military's continued operation at Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, the White House is reaffirming its position based on U.S. intelligence. The assertion contends that Hamas utilized the complex as a key command center, employing it not only for military activities but also as a shield against potential military action.

White House spokesperson John Kirby asserted, "We have our own intelligence that convinces us that Hamas was using Al-Shifa as a command-and-control node and most likely as well as a storage facility." Kirby emphasized the concern that Hamas's presence in the hospital jeopardized the safety of patients and medical staff.

Despite Israel Defense Forces sharing video evidence of weapons and military equipment allegedly found in the hospital, definitive proof of Al-Shifa's designation as a Hamas command center remains elusive. The terrorist group and hospital staff vehemently deny these allegations.

In response to questions about whether Israel had shared new intelligence with the U.S., Kirby remained tight-lipped, stating, "I'm not going to talk about specific intelligence that may pass between the two of us."

While Israel and the U.S. contend that tunnels beneath Al-Shifa connect to other Hamas outposts, the ongoing raid has not conclusively demonstrated this. Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst, highlighted an ongoing discussion about the potential existence of deeper tunnels, suggesting that the current operation may only scratch the surface of what lies beneath."

"Schanzer underscores the significance of digital evidence, as computers within Al-Shifa may hold crucial information regarding Hamas' activities, potentially revealing coordination details leading up to the Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel and connections to financial sponsors. While hospitals are generally protected under international humanitarian law, they can become legitimate targets if used for military activities deemed 'harmful to the enemy,' as outlined by the Geneva Conventions.

According to an IDF official, since publicly exposing the use of hospitals for terrorist activities, Hamas has persistently worked to conceal infrastructure and cover up evidence. The ongoing operation at Al-Shifa is characterized by its complexity, with Israeli troops meticulously sweeping through the hospital. The IDF claims to have uncovered advanced communication and military equipment, along with information and footage related to hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups.

Recent developments include the discovery of the remains of a 65-year-old woman abducted on Oct. 7 near Al-Shifa, although it remains unclear if this is directly linked to the ongoing operation. As the search continues, the humanitarian conditions inside the hospital worsen, according to its director, Muhammad Abu Salamiya. In a televised interview, Abu Salamiya reported the depletion of food, water, and supplemental oxygen for patients. Al-Shifa's staff, overwhelmed with handling the deceased, are allegedly prohibited from leaving the hospital, leading to a grim situation described by Abu Salamiya as 'waiting for slow death.'"

"In conclusion, the unfolding situation at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza reflects a complex and tense scenario, with conflicting claims and humanitarian concerns intensifying as the Israeli military's operation persists. The White House maintains its stance, backed by U.S. intelligence, asserting that Hamas was utilizing the hospital as a command center, despite denials from the terrorist group and hospital staff.

The ongoing scrutiny and detailed sweep by Israeli troops aim to expose hidden terrorist infrastructure and gather evidence of Hamas activities. The significance of digital evidence, highlighted by Schanzer, underscores the potential insights into the group's coordination leading up to recent terror attacks and its financial connections.

As the operation unfolds, the dire humanitarian conditions inside Al-Shifa, including the depletion of essential supplies and restrictions on hospital staff, add a layer of urgency and concern. The discovery of remains linked to a previous abduction further complicates the situation, raising questions about the broader implications of the ongoing operation.

With the operation's complexity and continuous flow of new information, the international community watches closely, mindful of the delicate balance between military objectives, international law, and the pressing humanitarian crisis within the hospital walls."