Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said on Friday that “Zionist” hostages were not held in hospitals but were transferred to care centers for treatment due to the seriousness of their condition and to save their lives.
Israel earlier said its troops had found a tunnel shaft used by Hamas at Al-Shifa Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip.
The hospital, packed with patients and displaced people and struggling to keep operating, has been a major focus of global concern this week. Israel says Hamas has stored weapons and ammunition and is holding hostages in a network of tunnels under hospitals like Al-Shifa, using patients and people taking shelter there as human shields. Hamas denies this.
With the war about to enter its seventh week, there is no sign of any let-up despite international calls for a ceasefire or at least for humanitarian pauses.
The conflict was triggered by a cross-border raid by Hamas militants on October 7 that killed about 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, in the deadliest day in the state’s 75-year-history.