The Shifa Hospital has been at the center of the fighting in Gaza for days. Now Israel claims to have discovered a long tunnel under the clinic. Meanwhile, hopes for the release of dozens of hostages are growing.
The Israeli army says it has discovered a 55-meter-long tunnel under Al-Shifa Hospital in the city of Gaza. The army announced on Sunday that this was ten meters below the clinic. Israeli soldiers have been deployed for days on the grounds of the Al-Shifa Hospital, which they suspect is an operations center for the radical Islamic Hamas.
According to the army, the soldiers also discovered a hiding place containing “grenade launchers, explosives and Kalashnikov rifles.” A steep staircase leads to the entrance to the tunnel, which is secured with an armored door, among other things. Such doors are used by Hamas “to prevent Israeli forces from entering their command centers,” the army said. Israeli forces stormed the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
31 premature babies evacuated from Shifa hospital
In the meantime The evacuation of the embattled clinic continues Ahead. On Sunday, 31 premature babies were evacuated. The “very sick” babies were transferred from the Al-Shifa hospital in the city of Gaza to a clinic in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip under “extremely intensive and high-risk security conditions,” wrote the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , on X (formerly Twitter). The premature babies are now being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit, Tedros wrote. A photographer from the AFP news agency saw the tiny babies in the hospital, some of them three or four in beds, being cared for by doctors and fed with bottles by nurses.
According to the WHO chief, the premature babies were brought to Rafah in six Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulances. In addition to the premature babies, six medical employees and ten family members of the staff were also transported. “Further missions” to transport patients and staff from Al-Shifa Hospital are planned, but the parties to the conflict must guarantee safe passage. The WHO described the clinic as a “death zone” after an hour-long visit by WHO staff.
On Saturday, hundreds of people had already left the hospital complex on foot heading south. Israeli soldiers have been on the grounds of Al-Shifa Hospital for days, where they suspect a Hamas operations center.
France wants to send a warship with medical aid
On October 7th, hundreds of fighters from Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, attacked Israel and committed atrocities there, mainly against civilians. According to Israeli figures, around 1,200 people were killed in Israel and around 240 people were taken hostage to the Gaza Strip.
In response to the Hamas attack, Israel began massive attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip, and ground troops have now moved into the area. On Saturday, Israel said its army was “expanding its operational activities into additional neighborhoods” of the Gaza Strip. According to Hamas figures, which cannot be independently verified, around 13,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israeli attacks began six weeks ago.
French President Emmanuel Macron told X on Sunday that “injured or sick children” from the Gaza Strip in urgent need of treatment could be treated in France if it was “useful and necessary.” The Elysee Palace also said that France was preparing a warship to send to the eastern Mediterranean to provide medical aid to the Gaza Strip.
War in the Middle East
A hospital on the verge of collapse: That’s how bad things are at the embattled Schifa Clinic
Hope for the release of dozens of hostages
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said an agreement to release the hostages in the Gaza Strip depends on “minor” obstacles of a “logistical and practical” nature. After some ups and downs in the talks, Al-Thani appeared “more confident that we are pretty close to an agreement that can bring people back home safely.” The Qatari Prime Minister did not give a timetable.
Qatar, home to both a major US military base and Hamas’s political office, had in recent weeks mediated negotiations over the release of hostages kidnapped into the Gaza Strip and a temporary ceasefire in the war. Four hostages have so far been released as a result of this mediation. The US government reiterated on Saturday that it was “continuing to work hard to reach an agreement”. However, the White House denied a Washington Post report about a tentative agreement.
Fighting in the Gaza Strip continues
Meanwhile, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip. Five more Israeli soldiers were killed in the north of the coastal area, the military said on Sunday. The number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of the war rose to 64.
On Saturday, two attacks hit the Jabalia refugee settlement in the north of the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, the UN-run Al-Fakhura school and another building, which is run by the UN and used as refugee accommodation, and another building were hit, killing more than 80 people.
The Israeli army told AFP it had received “reports of an incident in the Jabalia region” and was currently investigating.
The events of the past 48 hours “exceed the imagination,” said UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk. In attacks on schools that have been converted into emergency shelters, people would be killed, hundreds would be forced to flee the Al-Shifa hospital, while hundreds of thousands would be displaced into the southern Gaza Strip. These were events that violated the basic protection “that must be granted to civilians under international law,” emphasized the Human Rights Commissioner.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.