IDF raids Khan Yunis hospital to look for hostages

Several terror suspects detained during "precise and limited operation" at Nasser Hospital


Workers and staff unload medical aid delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 9, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas in the Palestinian territory. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli special forces have entered Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis to look for hostages amid warnings to patients and staff and the opening of a humanitarian route out of the hospital.

The Israel Defense Forces claimed on Thursday that there was “credible evidence” that Hamas held hostages inside the hospital, which is the largest in southern Gaza, and that the bodies of dead captives may be located inside the facility.

On Thursday, the IDF said they had "apprehended a number of suspects" in the hospital and said the operation was ongoing.

In a video message, IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari revealed that IDF special forces were conducting a “precise and limited operation” inside the hospital. The military later said that several terror suspects had been arrested during the raid.

According to the IDF, Israeli military had asked the hospital’s director to halt to all Hamas terrorist activity inside the facility and requested the immediate evacuation of Hamas terrorists from the premises.

“A key objective as defined by our military mission is to ensure that the Nasser Hospital continues its important function of treating Gazan patients,” said Hagari.

The IDF ensured the delivery of medical equipment, including oxygen tanks, and fuel for electricity, in coordination with international organizations, added Hagari.

Hagari stressed that staff and patients were not required to evacuate, but have been provided a safe humanitarian route should they choose to leave and are being urged to move away from the danger that Hamas has put them in. IDF doctors and Arabic-speaking IDF officers on the ground are communicating this message to the staff and patients, according to Hagari.

“Our message to them is clear: We seek no harm to innocent civilians. We seek to find our hostages and bring them home. We seek to hunt down Hamas terrorists wherever they may be hiding,” he said.

According to Hagari, the intelligence regarding the hostages’ presence at Nasser had come from several sources, including released hostages. It comes days after two Israeli hostages were rescued from Hamas captivity in the Gaza city of Rafah.

“As was proven with the Shifa Hospital, Rantisi Hospital, Al Amal Hospital and many other hospitals across Gaza, Hamas systematically uses hospitals as terror hubs,” he said.

“According to intelligence assessments and information we gathered on the ground, over 85% of major medical facilities in Gaza have been used by Hamas for terror operations,” he emphasized.

The terror group has denied operating inside the hospital.

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