Middle east

Israel arrests hundreds of fighters in Al-Shifa Complex

The Israeli army announced the arrest of several Hamas leaders before retracting the statement following a denial from a prominent Hamas official

The chief spokesperson for the Israeli army announced the arrest of hundreds of fighters from the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement, including several security officials and military leaders, during an extensive raid on the main hospital in Gaza before retracting the claim following a denial from Hamas.

Israeli forces entered the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City in the early hours of Monday morning and began searching the sprawling complex, which the army says is connected to a tunnel network used as a base by Palestinian fighters. The army claims to have killed hundreds of fighters and detained over 500 suspects, including 358 members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, the largest number since the start of the war nearly six months ago.

The army’s spokesperson, Admiral Daniel Hagari, stated that units of special forces used “deceptive methods” to surprise the fighters and inflicted severe damage on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Among those arrested are three senior military leaders from the Islamic Jihad and a Hamas official involved in operations in the occupied West Bank, as well as others from Hamas‘s internal security.

Hagari said in a late statement on Thursday, “Those who did not surrender to our forces fought our forces and were eliminated,” seemingly promoting a victory amid the silence of Palestinian factions, who have recently faced several attacks, with the latest being the U.S. confirmation of the death of the second man in the Al-Qassam Brigades, Marwan Issa.

The Israeli army also arrested dozens of residents of homes adjacent to the Al-Shifa hospital, including a woman over 94 years old, as part of its ongoing operations. Al-Shifa was Gaza’s largest hospital before the war but is now one of the few medical facilities operating, even partially, in the northern Gaza Strip, also sheltering civilian refugees.

However, Hamas‘s denial prompted Israel on Friday to acknowledge the release of inaccurate images of Palestinians, attributing it to a “human error.”

The Israeli army and the Shin Bet security agency stated in a joint statement, “Due to a human error, some of the published photos, which were those of disruptors who had not yet been arrested but were present in the hospital area and hiding there, were misidentified.”

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