IDF troops were operating inside the Shifa hospital in Gaza after revealing Hamas command centers underneath the compound and as terrorists fired at them from the hospital entrance. "IDF ground troops are currently carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital. The activity in this specified area is based on operational necessities, as well as intelligence information that indicates Hamas terrorist activity is being directed from the area," the military said on Wednesday.
An eye witness told the BBC that the IDF was in full control of the hospital and soldiers are going from room to room asking staff and patients questions. He confirmed that the troops were accompanied by doctors and Arabic speakers.
He said the displaced Gazans who were sheltering in the hospital were forced to gather in the courtyard and are being checked by troops. "These in no shooting now," the witness identified only as Khaled told the British network. At the same time a Shifa hospital doctor told Reuters that there was gunfire outside and that staff was made to stay away from windows. Despite evidence provided by the IDF, the doctor claimed Hamas did not have a command center at Shifa.
The World Health Organization said it had lost touch with health personnel at Al Shifa. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the reports of the military incursion into the hospital were deeply concerning. "We've lost touch again with health personnel at the hospital. We're extremely worried for their and their patients' safety," he said on social media platform X.
In separate comments, U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Wednesday he was "appalled" by reports of the raids. "The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns," he wrote on X. "Hospitals are not battlegrounds."
The Qatari Al Jadeed outlet reported that Egypt was attempting to coordinate with Israel and the U.S., the transfer of premature babies from Shifa by ambulances. The IDF delivered incubators to Shifa earlier.
The military said the forces were involved in fighting outside Shifa but that no injuries were reported to troops inside the facility.