Israeli Authorities Claim Soldier Executed And Foreign Hostages Held At Gaza's Shifa Hospital
Israeli authorities claim soldier executed and foreign hostages held at Gaza's Shifa hospitalas it escalated its accusations of Hamas abuses at the Gaza Strip's largest hospital on Sunday, which has been a focal point of its extensive six-week-old offensive.
Al Shifa Hospital, once a refuge for tens of thousands of Palestinian war refugees, has been evacuating patients and staff since Israeli troops entered last week on a mission to uncover hidden Hamas facilities. Israel is also in pursuit of approximately 240 individuals whom Hamas allegedly kidnapped to Gaza following an October 7 cross-border assault that triggered the conflict.
Among them was 19-year-old Israeli army conscript Noa Marciano, whose body was discovered near Shifa last week. Hamas claimed she died in an Israeli airstrike and released a video showing her corpse, indicating only a head wound.
However, the Israeli military reported that a forensic examination revealed she had sustained non-life-threatening injuries from such a strike.
"According to intelligence information - solid intelligence information - Noa was taken by Hamas terrorists inside the walls of Shifa hospital. There, she was murdered by a Hamas terrorist," chief spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.
During his televised briefing, Hagari stated that Hamas gunmen had brought a Nepalese and a Thai national, who were among the foreign workers seized in the October 7 raid, to Shifa. However, he did not disclose the identities of the two hostages.
Hagari aired CCTV footage that seemed to depict a group of men forcefully escorting an individual into a hospital, surprising the medical staff. Another clip showed an injured man on a gurney with an armed civilian nearby.
Hamas has not yet commented on Hagari's remarks. The Palestinian Islamist group, governing Gaza, had previously asserted that it took some hostages to hospitals for medical treatment.
In a separate development on Sunday, the Israeli military released video footage of a tunnel described as 55 meters in length, dug by Palestinians 10 meters beneath the Shifa compound. While acknowledging an extensive network of secret tunnels, bunkers, and access shafts throughout the Palestinian enclave, Hamas has consistently denied their existence within civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.
The footage displayed a confined passage with arched concrete roofing, terminating at what the military, in a statement, identified as a blast-proof door. The statement did not disclose the contents beyond the door. According to the military, the tunnel was accessed through a shaft found in a shed within the Shifa compound, housing munitions. A second video revealed an outdoor shaft opening within the compound.
Mounir El Barsh, the director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, rejected the Israeli assertion about the tunnel, dismissing it as a "complete fabrication."
"They have been at the hospital for eight days, and yet they haven't found anything," he told reporters.