The Israeli military raided Gaza's largest hospital early Wednesday, conducting what it called a "precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area" of the facility, which has been the site of a standoff with the ruling militant group.
IDF spokesman said in an interview to CNN that forces are entering in order to reach a place "where we might defeat Hamas and release hostages."
"Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital," spokesman said. "The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaz," he emphasized.
The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare "for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields."
Both Israel and the United States have said that Hamas militants were using Gaza's hospitals to hide command posts and hostages using underground tunnels.
The IDF has also facilitated wide-scale evacuations of the hospital and maintained regular dialogue with hospital authorities. Israeli authorities claim the militants conceal military operations in Al-Shifa Hospital. But with hundreds of patients and medical personnel inside, the military has refrained from entering.
On Tuesday evening, the Arrow air defense system successfully intercepted a missile over the Red Sea that activated the missile alert system in Eilat, according to the IDF spokesperson. Shortly before the Eilat rocket warning sirens sounded, tens of thousands of residents of Tel Aviv and central Israel were sent running to secure areas as rockets were fired toward them from Gaza.
A 20-year-old man was seriously injured and a 43-year-old woman was moderately injured by shrapnel from the rocket barrage to Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan area. The Magen David Adom team evacuated them to Wolfson Hospital in Holon.
At least 200,00 people gathered Tuesday afternoon on the National Mall in Washington DC for a rally to demonstrate broad support for Israel’s war effort, to call for the release of the hostages and to condemn antisemitism, as tallied by the metal detectors at the entrance to the National Mall. An additional 70,000 are watching the livestream.
Buses and flights organized by Jewish schools, community centers, synagogues and other organizations brought groups to the rally from across the country. Tuesday’s rally aims to demonstrate broad support for Israel’s war effort and to call for the release of the hostages, in addition to condemning antisemitism. The rally’s organizers — the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — said this is the largest Jewish gathering in the history of the United States.
The White House on Tuesday said it had its own intelligence that Hamas is using Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital to run its military operations, and probably to store weapons, saying those actions constitute a war crime.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he is engaged in daily discussions to secure a release of hostages being held by Hamas and he believes it is going to happen. "Hang in there, we're coming," Biden said at the White House, when asked by reporters what his message to family members of hostages would be. Biden said he speaks every day with the parties involved in negotiations over a possible hostage release, but did not want to share the details.
Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhala said in a statement on Tuesday that the method of negotiations on Israeli hostages may push the Jihad movement out of any deal. The group added it may keep the hostages it holds "for better circumstances."
The IDF announced on Tuesday that battlegroups from the 7th Brigade and Golani Brigade have been active in Gaza City's Sheikh Ajlin and Rimal neighborhoods in recent days, targeting Hamas government institutions that were being utilized for military purposes. The forces of the 162nd Division are striking Hamas infrastructure and its operational capabilities, according to the IDF. So far, the division forces have located more than 160 tunnel shafts and struck approximately 2,800 terrorist infrastructures, and eliminated at least 1,000 terrorists and commanders from the terrorist organization. In the Gaza Strip, the 162nd Division secured strategic Hamas assets, including the Force 17 outpost, the Hamas security quarter, Rantisi Hospital used by Hamas for military activities and holding hostages, and the Bader outpost.
During the operation, the fighters seized the "Jizat" facility, which contains Hamas training complexes, operational command centers, interrogation and detention facilities. Weapons and Hamas training and educational materials were found at the site.
Additionally, Golani's combat teams raided the governor's building, used as a terror facility housing Hamas's military and police offices, intelligence offices, organizational headquarters and other positions, including sites used for training ahead of the October 7 attack on Israel.
IDF soldiers on Tuesday also took control of the headquarters of Ayman Nofal, commander of the central Gaza refugee camps brigade, who was killed about a month ago in an IDF strike in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
Colonel Israel Friedler, commander of the Infantry School Brigade, said, "You messed with the wrong army, the wrong people. We are here at your office, scanning every house, every corner. We will destroy you to the end."
Soldiers also raided a terror infrastructure in a concrete factory in the northern Gaza Strip. During the raid, they destroyed tunnel shafts found inside the factory and seized various weapons, including grenades, AK47 rifles, explosives and anti-tank missiles, while eliminating terrorists in several battles. The engineering forces involved in the operation also demolished a booby-trapped building.
Meanwhile, the IDF said on Tuesday that IDF fighter jets attacked several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Additionally, an Israeli tank struck an anti-tank missile squad that tried to fire from Lebanon toward the Kibbutz Yiftach area. Throughout the day, terrorists fired anti-tank missiles and mortar shells toward IDF border outposts in Margaliot, Arab al-Aramshe and Kibbutz Yiftach, as well as toward Shomra and Matat. Israeli forces struck the sources of the attacks.
Air raid sirens sounded in Israel's southernmost city of Eilat. The IDF said that an interceptor was launched due to a suspected “aerial target.” The sirens were triggered by this interceptor's launch. No infiltration into Israeli airspace was detected.
A representative from the IDF Spokesperson's Unit visited her family Monday night after Hamas released a video of her, calling it an act of “psychological terror.”
The IDF on Tuesday confirmed that Staff Sergeant Roei Marom, 21, from Raanana, a Kfir Brigade soldier, and Master Sergeant (res.) Raz Abulafia, 27, from Rishafon, a 12th Brigade soldier, were killed in action in the northern Gaza Strip.
Additionally, an 188th Armored Brigade reservist and 605th Battalion career soldier were seriously wounded in combat in the northern Gaza Strip. Two 300th Brigade soldiers were also severely injured due to an anti-tank missile strike near the Lebanon border. The injured soldiers were transported to hospital for medical treatment, and their families have been informed.
IDF Arabic spokesperson Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee on Tuesday urged residents remaining in the northern Gaza Strip to move south through humanitarian corridors opened by the IDF.
"We are keeping a passage open from 9am to 4pm for humanitarian purposes through Salah al-Din Road toward the area south of Wadi Gaza. For your safety, please join the hundreds of thousands who have moved south in recent days," he wrote on his X account.
He added that IDF forces will not operate between 10am to 2pm in Gaza’s Al-Daraj and Al-Tuffah quarters, encouraging residents to use this time to evacuate. "If Hamas operatives block your way, contact us via text message," Adraee wrote, providing a phone number.
Meanwhile, Hamas's communications minister in Gaza warned that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a complete communications breakdown by Thursday due to rapidly depleting fuel reserves, which could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and further complicate residents' access to emergency assistance, CNN reported.
The IDF said Tuesday morning that air defenses intercepted a "suspicious target" identified off the coast of the city of Acre in northwest Israel. No sirens were activated.
At least six Palestinians were killed early on Tuesday in the West Bank by Israeli forces, the Palestinian health ministry and Palestinian media said.
At least three of those were killed in an Israeli drone strike, the Palestinians' official news agency WAFA reported, citing a hospital in the western city of Tulkarm. The IDF said they were hurling explosives at Israeli forces.
Israeli troops shot dead at least two Palestinians during earlier clashes in a refugee camp in the city, WAFA reported.
First published: 07:57, 11.14.23