Israel arrests Shifa Hospital director fleeing to south Gaza

November 24, 2023 by Pesach Benson
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Israeli forces arrested the director of Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, on Thursday while he was attempting to evacuate southward along the humanitarian corridor. The arrest was confirmed by the Israel Defence Forces and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

Gaza’s Shifa Hospital operating without interruption on Oct. 29, 2023. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

“In the hospital, under his management, there was extensive Hamas terrorist activity. Findings of his involvement in terrorist activity will determine whether he will be subject to further Shin Bet questioning,” the statement said.

The announcement stressed that the Shifa Hospital, “under his direct management, served as a Hamas command and control center. The Hamas terror tunnel network situated under the hospital also exploited electricity and resources taken from the hospital. In addition, Hamas stored numerous weapons inside the hospital and on the hospital grounds.”

The statement added, “Furthermore, after the Hamas massacre on October 7th, Hamas terrorists sought refuge within the hospital, some of them taking hostages from Israel with them. A pathological report also confirmed the murder of Cpl. Noa Marciano on the hospital premises.”

Shifa Hospital, located in the North Rimal neighbourhood and boasting 570 beds, is Gaza’s largest medical centre, serving the medical needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. It was originally built by British authorities in 1946. In the 1980s, Israel renovated and expanded Shifa as part of an initiative to improve Gaza’s living conditions.

As far back as 2009, the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) reported during the Gaza war of that year that Hamas operatives were hiding in the hospital and that the basement had become Hamas’s headquarters.

As the Tazpit Press Service reported, in addition to being used to hide Hamas leaders and hostages, the terror group is known to have launched rockets, tortured suspected collaborators and hoarded a half-million litres of fuel in the hospital compound.

Other Gazans interrogated by Israel have confirmed that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have also embedded themselves in other hospitals and in the Strip’s Palestinian Red Crescent headquarters.

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