US 'confident' Gaza hospital used to hold Israeli hostages: ‘Hamas plan was…'
Israel-Hamas War: The US said that the hospital was evacuated by Hamas and sensitive documents destroyed.
The US said that it was "confident" Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad used Gaza's biggest hospital to hold "at least a few" hostages that were seized on 7 October following the group's attack in Israel which killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Israel's subsequent assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza killed over 22,000.
What US intelligence assessment said?
American intelligence assessment finds backed Israeli claims about the Al Shifa hospital complex which it believes the groups "used the al Shifa hospital and sites beneath it to house command infrastructure, exercise certain command and control activities, store some weapons, and hold at least a few hostages".
The US said that the hospital was then evacuated by Hamas and sensitive documents destroyed.
What about raids in Al Shifa?
The hospital was raided by Israeli forces in November. The move was heavily criticised by global humanitarian organisations. Before the raid, the Israeli military unveiled a detailed 3D model of the hospital showing what it claimed was a series of underground installations that were part of an elaborate Hamas command-and-control centre. This was said to be underneath the hospital by Israel. The step was controversial as hospitals typically come under protected status under the international laws of war. Although, they can lose that status if they are used for military purposes. The World Health Organisation last month described the emergency department in the health facility as resembling a "bloodbath."
Has US shared the intelligence evidence?
US intelligence agencies have not disclosed the evidence on which they based their assessment but they said that the information was independently confirmed. The assessment was reported first by the New York Times which said that the classified version of the assessment was sent to lawmakers in the US Congress as well.