Biden defends Israel incursion into al-Shifa hospital against Hamas ‘headquarters’

President Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind Israel’s invasion of al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, saying Hamas had committed its first war crime by using the medical facility as a headquarters for military operations.

“The first war crime by Hamas is in the situation of hiding the army, which is the headquarters of Hamas, under a hospital. It is a fact and it happened,” the president said during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California. He said this at a later press conference.

Although Biden did not provide details about the information or evidence he had, he was absolutely certain that what U.S. and Israeli officials say is a command center located around the hospital and in its basement. He said that he has confidence in this.

The Israeli military on Wednesday released photos and videos from inside a hospital in the Gaza Strip, claiming to show numerous caches of weapons hidden behind MRI machines, in hallway closets and inside hospital rooms.

Israel said it engaged and killed Hamas fighters as part of the infiltration of the medical facility, but also brought in medical professionals, Arabic speakers and medical supplies such as incubators and baby food.

Witnesses inside the hospital and those who spoke to news agencies said the situation was tense at times as Israeli troops moved between buildings, and sporadic sounds of gunfire could be heard, according to Reuters. , there were no reports of anyone being injured on the premises.

The White House said earlier Wednesday that Israel’s military operation against the hospital was not the “primary focus” of Biden’s phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week. But Biden said Wednesday that he had discussed the need for Israelis to be “very careful” when entering medical facilities.

“As you know, we have a situation where there are a significant number of Hamas terrorists. Hamas has already attacked Israel again, as before, cutting off the heads of babies and burning women and children alive. “We have publicly stated that it was a plan,” the president said, detailing some of the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas in the October 7 attacks. attack on Israel.

Citing his discussions with his national security team about the circumstances of the incident, the president said, “Israel did not march with a large army, attack, or raid anyone.” Ta.

The president also said he was “somewhat hopeful” that negotiations to free the estimated 240 hostages, including infants, children, women, the elderly and the sick, abducted by Hamas during its attack on Israel last month will be successful. said.

Still, Biden did not say when Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip would end. In the Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military attacks on small strips of land, and more than a million people have been told to evacuate the conflict area.

The humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip has weakened American support for Biden’s position.

But the United States has refrained from asking Israel to agree to a ceasefire, especially as hostage negotiations continue.

Biden instead advocated for a tactical humanitarian moratorium to allow for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, the evacuation of foreign nationals, and the possible safe transfer of hostages. Still, the United States abstained Wednesday from a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, arguing that the resolution did not condemn Hamas.

“By the way, when is this going to end? I think this problem will stop when Hamas can no longer maintain its ability to murder and abuse Israelis and just do horrible things,” Biden said. Told.

“They’re going to do what they did on the 7th again. They want to massacre the Israelis. They want to do it again.”

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