Israeli special forces launch counterterror raid at Gaza’s Shifa hospital

One soldier lightly wounded, 80 terrorists arrested; IDF releases audio of warning that Hamas once again active at the facility.

By Joshua Marks | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
IDF special forces conduct searches at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: IDF.
IDF special forces conduct searches at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: IDF.

The Israel Defense Forces and Israel Security Agency launched a targeted operation at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early Monday after intelligence indicated that Hamas terrorists were active there.

Some 80 terrorists were arrested during the operation, and Israeli special forces took full control of the hospital compound. One soldier was lightly wounded during the raid.

Hamas forces fired on Israeli troops from within the hospital, according to the Israel Defense Forces. According to Hebrew media reports, the terrorists used patients at the hospital as human shields.

“The IDF began the operation following established intelligence that required immediate action. We know that senior Hamas terrorists have regrouped inside the Shifa Hospital and are commanding operations against Israel from there,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Monday morning.

“Our focused activity is not only an operational necessity, it is a global imperative…We call on all Hamas terrorists hiding in hospitals to surrender immediately. It is forbidden to use medical facilities for terrorist purposes; Hamas must be held accountable,” he added.

According to the IDF, Gaza medical officials were advised of the pending operation. The military released a recording of a conversation in recent days between the head of the IDF Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza and the director of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, in which the Israeli official can be heard warning that Hamas forces were active at the hospital and that the IDF would need to take action.

In late November, the Israel Defense Forces released extensive video evidence of Hamas tunnels under Shifa Hospital—the Gaza Strip’s largest medical facility—saying it “unequivocally” proved the modus operandi of Hamas, “which systematically operates from hospitals.”

The terrorist group held at least three of the 253 hostages it kidnapped on Oct. 7 at Shifa, according to the IDF.

A senior US intelligence official said in early January that the American government was convinced that Hamas used the hospital complex to direct terrorist forces, store weapons and hold “at least a few hostages.”

The official also said US spy agencies had information that Hamas destroyed evidence before the IDF operation at the hospital got underway.

A US official expressed confidence in the intelligence assessment as it was based on information gathered independently by both Israel and American agencies.

In November, the IDF recovered the body of Cpl. Noa Marciano, who was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, in a building adjacent to Shifa Hospital. Also found next to the hospital was the corpse of another hostage, Yehudit Weiss.

Israeli forces arrested the hospital’s director, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, on Dec. 23.

“In the hospital, under his management, there was extensive Hamas terrorist activity. Findings of his involvement in terrorist activity will determine whether he will be subject to further ISA [Israel Security Agency] questioning,” the IDF said in a statement.