November 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Gaza Hospital as Headquarters

November 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Gaza Hospital as Headquarters

Latest Developments

Hamas operatives in Gaza City clashed with Israeli forces on November 9 near Shifa Hospital, a de facto headquarters for the terrorist group, with reports of an Israeli strike on November 10. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on October 27 that “hundreds of terrorists flooded into the hospital to hide” after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. Hamas operates an extensive tunnel system beneath Shifa Hospital and has set up shop throughout the facility. On November 3, the IDF released audio of a Gaza health official confirming that Hamas is also siphoning over half a million liters of fuel meant for civilian use and storing it below Shifa. The group uses the fuel “for its terror infrastructure,” said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

Expert Analysis

“Wittingly or not, the crowds of Gazans who have congregated at Shifa have become human shields for the Iran-backed terror organization Hamas. Israel has made it clear that the goal of the war is to destroy Hamas’s military capability. In order to do so, the IDF will have to maneuver in and around the hospital. The best-case scenario is that Shifa hospital is safely evacuated under IDF supervision. However, Hamas will be reluctant to lose its civilian cover.” —Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The fact that Hamas conceals its fighters and commanders beneath Shifa Hospital is a widely known yet unspoken truth in Gaza. Hamas exploits this tactical advantage, banking on the unlikelihood of Israeli forces attacking the hospital. And as IDF ground operations in Gaza continue, more evidence of Hamas’s transgressions against its own people will gradually come to light.”—Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Uses Hospitals as Shields

Hamas has a long history of placing military assets inside and below civilian sites. The terrorist group also fires rockets from these areas, putting Palestinians in harm’s way. Footage from the 2014 Gaza war shows Hamas launching rockets from the premises of al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City, rendering the facility a military target. International law prohibits the use of hospitals for military activity.

Hamas Uses Hospitals for Propaganda

In October, Hamas quickly blamed Israel for an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that struck a parking lot near Gaza’s al-Ahli Hospital. Hamas claimed the blast killed over 500 civilians, but the U.S. intelligence community estimated that 100 to 300 people died, while a European official put the figure at 50 or less. The incident epitomizes Hamas’s media strategy, which involves spreading misinformation and leveraging Palestinian civilian casualties to delegitimize Israel.

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Hospitals,” FDD Insight

Hamas Uses Hospitals as Terror Command Center, Israel Says,” FDD Flash Brief

The Real Gaza Hospital Crisis,” by Jonathan Schanzer


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