October 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Hospital as Terror Command Center, Israel Says

October 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Hospital as Terror Command Center, Israel Says

Latest Developments

Hamas is using Gaza’s largest hospital as a terror headquarters, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Friday. According to intelligence gathered by Israel and shared with other countries, Hamas has established command-and-control rooms and tunnels under Shifa hospital in Gaza and uses the medical facility to shield its terrorist infrastructure. The IDF released phone recordings and images illustrating how Hamas is using the hospital.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas has spent a decade and a half ruling Gaza and exploiting civilians there as part of its terror war against Israel. It purposely puts tunnels underneath civilian homes and near mosques and medical facilities in order to make it harder for Israel to strike at threats in Gaza. This is a war crime and illustrates the threat Hamas poses to civilians in Gaza.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Hamas and its allies have adopted a cynical tactic to endure Israeli airstrikes by taking shelter in the midst of Gaza’s civilian population. Recognizing that the Israel Defense Forces upholds a strict stance against attacking civilians, Palestinian terrorist groups capitalize by establishing a military network in locations with a high concentration of civilian infrastructure and homes.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

A History of Using Hospitals as Human Shields

Since Iran-backed Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2007, the group has purposefully used hospitals, mosques, and other civilian sites to hide its network of terror activities. A report published by NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence concluded that Hamas frequently uses human shields while “[f]iring rockets, artillery, and mortars from or in proximity to heavily populated civilian areas, often from or near facilities which should be protected according to the Geneva Convention (e.g. schools, hospitals, or mosques).”

Violations of International Law

International law prohibits the use of hospitals for military activity. According to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, warring parties must “ensure that … medical establishments and units are, as far as possible, situated in such a manner that attacks against military objectives cannot imperil their safety.” A 1977 additional protocol says that “under no circumstances shall medical units be used in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack. Whenever possible, the Parties to the conflict shall ensure that medical units are so sited that attacks against military objectives do not imperil their safety.”

Israel Points to Hamas’s Hoarding of Gaza Fuel,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Intel Confident Israel Did Not Attack Gaza Hospital,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel conducts first large scale tank raid into Gaza, repairs fence,” FDD Flash Brief

The Real Gaza Hospital Crisis,” by Jonathan Schanzer, Commentary


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