Israeli and American officials have said that Hamas uses hospitals for cover. Hamas and administrators of Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, have denied the claims.
The Israeli military sought on Wednesday to bolster its assertions that Hamas uses tunnels beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, releasing a series of videos that it said showed “dozens of meters of a tunnel system” beneath the complex of Al-Shifa Hospital.
Israeli and American officials have said that Hamas uses hospitals to provide cover for its military operations, accusations that Hamas and hospital administrators have denied. Israel, under increasing international pressure to prove those claims, has released several videos to press its case, showing elements of its cautious exploration of underground structures the military identifies as Hamas tunnels. The videos so far — including those released on Wednesday — have not shown conclusive evidence of a vast network of tunnels.
One video released this month included a military spokesman showing weapons that he said were found at Al-Shifa. Another showed a section of a tunnel that The New York Times verified was recorded at Al-Shifa.
That tunnel resembled the one seen in a video released on Wednesday. In that video, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, is shown holding a flashlight as he and a group of soldiers traverse a tunnel with an arched ceiling that he describes as being underneath Al-Shifa’s complex.
The videos released on Wednesday also show at least two toilets, a small alcove with a sink and a room with exposed wiring. Admiral Hagari says in the video that the room, and an electrical panel in another part of the tunnel, are connected to electricity sourced through the hospital.
In the video, the admiral also shows a room that he called a “hideout,” with two cots and a wall-mounted air-conditioning unit that he says is connected to an engine outside a hospital building.
The Israeli military said that Hamas had likely emptied the rooms as Israeli forces advanced. Admiral Hagari says in the video that Hamas tried to seal and destroy portions of the tunnel ahead of the military’s arrival.
In another video released on Wednesday, Admiral Hagari enters a home that he says is near Al-Shifa’s complex and served as a classroom. Inside the house, which has a chalkboard with English writing on it, Admiral Hagari shows an entrance into a tunnel that he says connected to tunnels under Al-Shifa.
Aric Toler and Malachy Browne contributed reporting.