IDF arrests Gaza hospital director, accuses him of working with Hamas

Thousands of weapons have been found in various hospital buildings and in the vast tunnel network under the vast medical center.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF detained the director of Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip as well as several doctors overnight Thursday, eliciting strong condemnation from Hamas forces which use the medical center as a military base, both above and beneath the ground.

According to Kan News, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya was handed over to the IDF Intelligence Unit 504 and the Shabak for questioning.

A department chief at the hospital told the AFP news agency that “senior doctors” were also arrested.

Despite it being a war crime to embed military forces among civilians, Hamas denunciated the arrest as a move that was “nothing less than despicable, lacking any sense of humanity and morals. It is also a flagrant violation of international norms and charters, given obligations to ensure that medical personnel are never harmed, including in times of war.”

Through its Health Ministry, the terror organization demanded that the World Health Organization and the Red Cross pressure Israel to release them.

An IDF spokesperson accused Abu Salmiyah of cooperating with Hamas, which used the hospital to as a command and control center, and to store weapons.

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The hospital was also used to conceal hostages captured during the October 7th invasion of southern Israel.

Abu Salmiya had accused the IDF last week of “digging in the hospital complex in order to situate its tanks there.”

What the army was actually digging for was entrances to the vast tunnel network that Hamas had dug and expanded over a decade underneath the myriad buildings of the hospital, which is the largest medical center in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF gave a tour to journalists Wednesday of part of the labyrinth it is slowly uncovering under the complex. Hundreds of guns, grenades, improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenade launchers and both large and small drones were laid out on one part of the grounds as only part of the weapons cache that had been discovered in the last two days alone.

The army had previously exposed weapons, including rockets, hidden in patients’ rooms and clinics, courtyards and storage rooms. A vehicle loaded with weaponry had been found in one of the hospital basements, readied but not used in the October 7 invasion in which the terrorist forces massacred 1,200 people and took 240 as hostages back to Gaza.

Evidence of hostages being held in the tunnels was presented earlier in the week, including a baby’s bottle and a hair ribbon of an abductee, along with ropes and chairs. Hospital videos the IDF confiscated also showed two kidnap victims being brought through hospital corridors by the terrorists on October 7.

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During the tour, chief IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari pointed out the wiring and pipes that brought electricity, air conditioning, and water from the hospital to Hamas’ underground command centers, kitchens and bathrooms.

This meant, he said that Hamas was “using the hospital infrastructure in order to provide this terror mechanism to stay alive and survive.”