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Biden backs Israeli raid of Al Shifa hospital, says Hamas committed war crime with underground ‘headquarters’

President Biden on Wednesday defended Israel’s attack on a major hospital in the Gaza Strip, repeating Israeli claims that Hamas used medical facilities as a command center to plan attacks.

“The first war crime committed by Hamas was in the situation where they hid their military, their headquarters, under a hospital,” Biden said. “And that’s a fact.”

Israeli forces forced their way into Al Shifa Hospital, but there was no electricity, oxygen, water or anesthesia. According to the BBC — We went room to room early in the morning, looking for Hamas terrorists, weapons, plans or other evidence that the group used the facility as a military headquarters.

The IDF said it carried out the raid “based on intelligence information and operational necessity.” It shared videos and photos purporting to show automatic weapons, grenades and ammunition allegedly belonging to Hamas fighters stored in one of the hospital’s buildings.

Biden said he fully believed Israel’s claims.

President Joe Biden fully supports Israel’s attack on a major hospital in the Gaza Strip and says he believes their cause.
AP
Doctors inspect damage to a ward inside Al Shifa Hospital after an attack by Israeli forces during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian organization Hamas in Gaza City, Gaza, on November 15, 2023. Photographed on November 15, 2023.
via Reuters

“One thing is clear: there is indeed a Hamas headquarters, weapons and supplies under this hospital, but I suspect there are others as well,” he said.

The president said a limited number of Israeli soldiers with guns entered al-Shifa and also brought medical supplies, including incubators for newborns.

“Israel was not in a hurry to march in with a large army or attack or do anything,” Biden told reporters at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday.

An Israeli officer points to what he describes as a weapon discovered at the al-Shifa hospital complex during an Israeli ground operation against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza City, November 15, 2023.
via Reuters

“They were told… we discussed the need to be very careful with them,” he added.

Hamas denies any activity at al-Shifa and accuses Israel of planting weapons at the facility.

“The occupation forces are still lying… because they brought in weapons, clothes and tools and deposited them in the hospital in a scandalous manner,” said Ezzat el-Rashuk, a senior Hamas official based in Qatar. “We have repeatedly called on the United Nations, World Health Organization and Red Cross committees to examine the lies of the occupation.”

Israeli soldiers walk in front of the Al-Shifa hospital complex during a ground operation against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, delivering humanitarian aid to facilities in Gaza City, November 15, 2023. November 15, 2023.
via Reuters

Hospitals are protected from attack in times of war under international humanitarian law. However, that protection can be lost if a party uses the facility to launch an attack or protect a military objective. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Still, Israeli attacks on hospitals have raised concerns from humanitarian groups.

The World Health Organization warned that Israel’s continued evacuation orders for Al Shifa and other hospitals “are a death sentence for the sick and injured.”

A man walks through the grounds of Al Shifa Hospital during an Israeli ground operation near the hospital in Gaza City on November 12, 2023.
via Reuters

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said he was “appalled” by reports of a military raid on al-Shifa.

“The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must take precedence over all other concerns,” he wrote to X. “Hospitals are not battlefields.”

Hospitals in Gaza have been overwhelmed with patients injured in Israeli airstrikes since the Jewish state launched an offensive in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.

Weapons and equipment that the Israeli military said it had discovered at the Al-Shifa hospital complex in the Gaza Strip can be seen in a screen capture from a video released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 15, 2023.
via Reuters

Airstrikes have since killed around 11,500 Palestinians, 40% of them children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, information the United Nations considers reliable.

Israel rejects growing calls for a ceasefire and the Biden administration continues, even though 68% of Americans say Israel should issue a ceasefire, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll promised support.

Biden said Wednesday that the war will only stop “when Hamas no longer maintains the ability to kill and abuse and do horrible things to the Israeli people.”

“Hamas has already publicly stated that it plans to attack Israel again as it has done before: beheading babies and burning women and children alive,” he added. “So the idea that they would just stand there and do nothing is not realistic.”

with post wire

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