(New York Post) President Biden defended Israel’s raid of Gaza’s main hospital Wednesday, reiterating Israeli assertions that Hamas has used the medical facility as a control center to plan its attacks.
“You have a circumstance where the first war crime is being committed by Hamas by having their headquarters, their military, hidden under a hospital,” Biden said. “And that’s a fact.”
Israeli troops forced their way into the Al Shifa hospital — which was without power, oxygen, water or anesthesia, according to the BBC — in the early morning hours and went room to room searching for Hamas terrorists, weapons, plans or other evidence showing the group used the facility as its military headquarters.
The IDF said it carried out its raid “based on intelligence information and an operational necessity.” It shared videos and photos purporting to show automatic weapons, grenades and ammunition it said belonged to Hamas fighters that were stored in one of the hospital buildings.
Biden said he fully believes Israel’s claims.
President Joe Biden says he fully supports Israel’s raid of Gaza’s main hospital and believes their claims.AP
Medics look at the damages in the wards inside Al Shifa hospital following an Israeli raid, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in Gaza City, Gaza on Nov. 15, 2023.via REUTERS
“One thing that’s been established is that Hamas does have headquarters, weapons, materials below this hospital and I suspect others,” he said.
The president said a limited number of Israeli soldiers armed with guns went into Al Shifa and also brought in medical supplies including incubators for newborns.
“Israel did not go in with a large number of troops, did not raid, did not rush anything down,” Biden told reporters at an unrelated press conference Wednesday.
An Israeli officer points at what he describes as weapons discovered at the Al Shifa hospital complex, amid the Israeli military’s ground operation against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Gaza City, on Nov. 15, 2023.via REUTERS
“They were told… we discussed the need for them to be incredibly careful,” he added.
Hamas has denied operating at Al Shifa and accused Israel of planting weapons in the facility.
“The occupation forces are still lying … as they brought some weapons, clothes and tools and placed them in the hospital in a scandalous manner,” Qatar-based Hamas senior member Ezzat El Rashq said. “We have repeatedly called for a committee from the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Red Cross to verify the lies of the occupation.”
Israeli soldiers walk at the Al Shifa hospital complex, amid their ground operation against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, during what they say is a delivery of humanitarian aid to the facility in Gaza City, on Nov. 15, 2023.via REUTERS
Hospitals are protected from attacks in times of war under international humanitarian law. However, they can lose that protection if a party uses the facility to launch an attack or to shield a military objective, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Still, Israel’s raid of the hospital raised concerns from humanitarian groups.
The World Health Organization warned that Israel’s continued orders for the evacuation of Al Shifa and other hospitals “are a death sentence for the sick and injured.”