Verification Info

Gaza: Israeli army communicates on tunnel discovered at al-Shifa hospital

For the first time since the beginning of operations in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army released a video on Sunday, November 19, purporting to show one of the tunnels used by Palestinian armed movements. It is an underground facility located on the outskirts of al-Shifa Hospital, which Israel claims to be the nerve center of Hamas' military operations.

Images released by the Israeli army show a tunnel about ten meters deep and several tens of meters long. © Screenshots/ Israeli Army Images/ RFI Editing

By: Olivier Fourt Follow | Grégory Genevrier Follow


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At this stage, after the first excavations in this vast hospital facility, the Israeli army's harvest seems rather meagre: a few dozen rifles, and military equipment but no trace of a real control center. This week, the Israeli military released images of Israeli forces uncovering a tunnel that was allegedly used by Palestinian armed movements for the first time since the operation began.

A first video filmed on 17 November shows the preparation of a soldier who descends roped into a conduit about ten metres deep. He then rushes into a long masonry corridor leading to a heavy door, obviously pierced by a loophole. The Israeli army says it is 10 metres deep and 55 metres long.

Israeli army releases what it says is video evidence of a 55-meter-long Hamas tunnel 10 meters deep underneath the Al Shifa Hospital complex.

Army says a "deep staircase leads to the entrance of the tunnel shaft, which consists of various defense means including a blast-proof...

— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) November 19, 2023

The same descent was also filmed by a drone, but this video posted on X, formerly Twitter, is cut to 1 minute and 13 seconds. The IDF's video editors then pasted the footage from the soldier's camera.

OPERATIONAL UPDATE: IDF and ISA forces revealed a significant 55-meter-long terrorist tunnel, 10 meters underneath the Shifa Hospital complex during an intelligence-based operation.

The tunnel entrance contains various defense mechanisms, such as a blast-proof door and a firing...

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 19, 2023

By cross-referencing the various images available online, RFI's Info Verif unit was able to confirm the location of the entrance to this tunnel.

Aerial view of the Al-Shifa hospital compound located in the northern Gaza Strip. © Screenshots/ RFI Editing

It is located to the north of the al-Shifa hospital complex, along the fence that faces Ibn Sina Street.

Several visual elements make it possible to geolocate the entrance to the tunnel. © Screenshot/ Israeli army image/ RFI montage

The entrance to the tunnel is located north of the Al-Shifa Hospital complex, on the Ibn Sina Street side. © Screenshot/ RFI Editing

A tactical victory for the Israeli army?

On social networks, some accounts, considered to be close to the Palestinian movement, have been talking since the beginning of the war about simple wells, concrete nozzles for irrigation, or technical inspection tunnels destroyed by Israeli strikes. A French civil engineering expert, contacted by RFI, noted the presence of a metal spiral staircase in the tunnel that had been unearthed.

Several elements attest to the presence of a spiral staircase in the tunnel. © Screenshots/ Israeli Army Images/ RFI Montage

According to him, this is a sign of "frequent traffic" in the building. However, it is not known when the tunnel was last used, by whom or for what purpose. The expert adds that the tunnel seems "too massive to be a technical duct" and notes: "the absence of pipes or cables" and finally stresses that "the size and shape do not correspond to an irrigation pipe".

For its part, the Israeli army says it "continues to search every corner of this huge complex" and claims to have discovered "grenade launchers, explosives and Kalashnikov rifles".

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