(November 11, 2023 / JNS)
The Israeli military evacuated Rantisi Hospital in Gaza City and chose not to target Hamas terrorists, leaving it with civilians on foot, in cars and ambulances, military officials said Saturday. The decision was made to avoid harming Palestinian non-combatants.
The Israeli military said it worked with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to later kill the terrorist who was holding around 1,000 Gazans hostage in the same hospital.
“Based on precise intelligence from the IDF and the ISA, and under the direction of IDF ground troops, IDF planes struck Ahmed Siam, commander of the Naser Radwan company of the Hamas terrorist organization. Two days ago, the IDF spokesperson revealed that Siam was holding around 1,000 Gazans hostage at Rantisi hospital and preventing them from evacuating to the south for their safety,” the IDF said. Israeli army.
“Ahmed Siam was killed while hiding in Al Buraq school, where other terrorists were discovered and killed. Siam once again demonstrates that Hamas uses civilians in the Gaza Strip as human shields for terrorist purposes,” added the Israeli army.
The head of the IDF Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, Colonel Moshe Tetro, said on Saturday that “there is no shooting at (Shifa Hospital) and there is no seat. The east side of the hospital remains open. Additionally, we can coordinate with anyone who wants to leave the hospital safely.
However, IDF spokesman Lt. Col. (Res) Peter Lerner said Saturday that hospitals should be evacuated in order to attack Hamas.
Maj. (Reserve) Shay, Givati Infantry Brigade operations officer, said: “Our mission is to destroy Hamas by reaching its infrastructure and leadership and ensuring that October 7 never happens again .
“We saw hundreds of terrorists in underground facilities, in schools, mosques and clinics,” Shay said. “We were in the security area in Gaza. We saw a rocket launch site and a rocket manufacturing factory as well as a tunnel entrance right next to a school.
A Givati Brigade unit arrived at Rantisi hospital this week and asked civilians to leave for three full days, calling the hospital director and handing out pamphlets, Shay said. The unit eventually realized that Hamas was holding hostages at the facility.
At that point, the soldiers approached the hospital, putting themselves in danger, to create an escape route for Palestinian civilians.
“For me, as an operations officer in the command room, I can tell you clearly, we saw terrorists in the hospital and among those evacuating the hospital. They were using civilians as human shields,” Shay said.
“We were faced with a huge dilemma. We sought to identify the terrorists at the hospital, trying to determine if we could use snipers, but we decided not to, firstly to avoid panic and also because it was very difficult for us to identify them,” he added.
“The overall decision was that trying to reach the terrorists at the hospital would do more harm than good,” Shay said. Thus, the IDF allowed Hamas members to leave with civilians.
The terrorists continued to shoot at civilians evacuating the hospital, Shay said.
Meanwhile, IDF ground troops killed numerous terrorists and struck infrastructure and weapons belonging to Hamas’s Zabra Tel Elhua battalion.
Israeli soldiers also carried out raids including extensive fighting in the southern part of the Sheikh Ijlin neighborhood, west of Gaza City, where a significant number of Hamas terrorists were located.
“Since the start of the ground operation, the IDF has taken control of 11 military posts belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization,” the Israeli army said on Saturday.
Israeli troops have identified and neutralized a suspicious vehicle rigged with explosives in a crucial transit zone. They also discovered and destroyed an underground tunnel near a school. The forces identified a terrorist cell and launched an airstrike, eliminating the threat.
The Israeli navy carried out operations against Hamas in northern Gaza, striking infrastructure and weapons depots. IDF infantry identified targets in the Al-Shati camp, ordering naval forces to carry out strikes.
Also on Saturday, the IDF and Shin Bet said they had killed around 20 Gaza-based terrorists who had orchestrated attacks in Judea and Samaria and Israel proper.
On Saturday evening, the IDF announced that five additional soldiers had been killed in combat in Gaza, bringing the death toll since the launch of the ground operation two weeks ago to more than 40.
In the north, Israeli Air Force fighter jets struck terrorist infrastructure belonging to Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Sirens signaled a possible intrusion by hostile aircraft, but no breach was confirmed. A rocket launched toward moshav Margaliot hit an open area, prompting IDF artillery fire on the source in Lebanon. Additionally, an Israeli drone hit a launch site that was targeting an IAF aircraft near the northern border.
In a televised speech on Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: “There are two escalating incidents, the first is the Israeli aggression against civilians in Gaza and the second is the heroic and massive response of Palestinian resistance against enemy forces. .
“Those who can stop the aggression are those who manage it: the United States. Those who manage, decide and lead this battle are part of the (Biden) administration. And all the pressure should be directed at the Americans,” Nasrallah said.
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