IDF Seizes Shifa Hospital, Claims Hamas Leader Killed in Firefight

Update (1116 EST): The IDF has announced that 20 have been killed with dozens arrested and under investigation after completing its mission at Shifa Hospital. At least nine bodies have been removed from the hospital as of this post. The IDF has also announced that only one soldier has been killed. However, the Al-Qassam Brigades have counterclaimed that they have caused “deaths and injuries” among the IDF personnel involved in the operation.

At approximately 2030 EST on 17 Mar 24, the IDF began operations to take control of Shifa Hospital, Gaza City. By 2100 EST, IDF forces had surrounded the hospital and strikes commenced on the upper floors of the compound. Heavy gunfire and explosions rattled the complex as the IDF urged civilians to not approach windows and move to the first floor. The IDF announced on its official Telegram page that it was conducting a raid on the hospital to capture a high-ranking Hamas official reported to be in the hospital.

By 2200 EST, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry took to social media to lambast the Israeli operation. The first public message reads below:

“We hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients and displaced people inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex. What the occupation forces are doing against Al-Shifa Medical Complex is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Hanif Convention.. The Israeli occupation is still using its fabricated narratives to deceive the world and to justify the storming of Al-Shifa Medical Complex. Israeli military offensive aims to continue destroying the health system in northern Gaza. We call on the international community to reject the practices of the Israeli occupation against Al-Shifa Medical Complex and Gaza hospitals?. We call on UN institutions to go immediately to Al-Shifa Medical Complex to protect it, protect everyone inside it, and prevent the specific Israeli targeting of it?.”

By 2300 EST, hundreds of civilians began streaming out of the hospital once IDF troops were inside and engaging in firefights with armed person, presumably Hamas. By then the first Israeli officials began commenting on the operation. The Head of Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration in Gaza demanded the cessation of terrorist activities in Gaza hospitals during a phone call with the Director General of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. The transcript of that call was published to the official TG page of the Israeli body. Simultaneously, the Palestinian Mujahideen Brigades pleaded on its social media page for increased international pressure against the Israeli operation.
By 0230 EST, the IDF claimed it had complete control over Shifa Hospital, troops had arrested 80 people, and a sharp battle ensued with Hamas militants inside the hospital.

The public narrative turned sharply against the IDF by about 0400 when both the Palestinian Red Cross and Al Jazeera reported losing contact with their employees. By 0615 EST, Al Jazeera reported that IDF personnel physically assaulted their journalists, namely Ismail Al-Ghoul and others. The IDF reportedly arrested these journalists.

However, the IDF announced at 0800 EST that its forces had located and killed Hamas head of Internal Security Operations Directorate Mabuha during the firefight to take the hospital.

Hamas confirmed this report on their Public TG channel, claiming that:

“The occupation army committed “ “Israelis” today is a new crime when the occupation soldiers assassinated Brigadier General Fayeq Al-Mabhouh, who is in charge of the coordination process with the tribes and UNRWA to bring and secure humanitarian aid into northern Gaza, where Brigadier General Al-Mabhouh carries out purely humanitarian civilian work, and he should have been protected and not harmed under international law.

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Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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