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Israel eliminates Hamas security chief and 20 other terrorists in operation in Shifa hospital

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) already control the area, after reporting attacks from inside and outside the health facilities.

Hospital Shifa

(Cordon Press)

Israeli troops advanced early Monday morning on the Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest health facility, where they killed a Hamas commander and 20 other terrorists, the IDF reported.

In a post on X (Twitter), the IDF reported that it shot down Faiq Mabhouh, head of Hamas' Internal Security Operations Directorate.

"Mabhouh was hiding in a compound at the Shifa hospital, from which he operated and advanced terrorist activity," the armed forces detailed.

Mabhouh's position is equivalent to that of an IDF brigade commander. The terrorist was a relative of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official who was killed by Israel in the UAE in 2010.

"Mabhouh has been in charge of all of Hamas's internal security forces both during the war and during peacetime, and there were reports that he may have been behind the assassinations of local Gaza Palestinians who were considering cooperating with the IDF," The Jerusalem Post reported.

Furthermore, in addition to eliminating Mabhouh and 20 other terrorists, the IDF reported that it also arrested dozens of suspects who are now being interrogated to determine whether they are Hamas members. In addition, the Israeli Army reported that troops found a significant amount of Hamas weaponry in a room adjacent to Mabhouh's hideout.

Israeli troops advanced early Monday on the Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest health center. Troops stormed the facility for the first time in November after presenting evidence that a Hamas operations center was located beneath it.

The "high precision operation" began at 2:30 a.m., according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari. The operation in "limited areas" came after Israeli intelligence gathered information that "senior Hamas terrorists have regrouped inside the Shifa hospital and are using it to command attacks against Israel."

Hagari specified that the hospital was still functioning. He assured that the soldiers had been trained to perform maneuvers in sensitive areas and that they were accompanied by doctors and Arabic translators. They also brought supplies such as water and food.

"We call upon all Hamas terrorists hiding in hospitals: surrender immediately," he maintained. "Hamas must be held accountable."

The IDF claims that its fighters were met with gunfire from several surrounding buildings and from inside the hospital itself. On social media, it shared an aerial video of the scuffle, which reportedly produced "several" terrorist casualties.

At least one Israeli soldier was killed during Monday's raid. Twenty-year-old Sargent Matan Vinogradov. His family has already been notified. This latest casualty brings the total to 250 Israelis killed in action, according to The Times of Israel.

Moment of tension between the U.S. and Israel

The operation at Shifa Hospital comes at a time when tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are at an all-time high.

This Monday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan addressed criticism that the Biden Administration is trying to influence Israel's domestic politics by stating that the situation is "ironic" because, in his words, Benjamin Netanyahu's government interferes more in U.S. domestic politics than vice versa.

During his press conference, Sullivan also confirmed that Israel killed the third Hamas commander in an airstrike last week.

"Israel has made significant progress against Hamas. They've broken a significant number of Hamas battalions [and] killed thousands of Hamas fighters including senior commanders. Hamas's number three, Marwan Issa, was killed in an Israeli operation last week," Sullivan said. He further noted that the remaining top leaders "are in hiding, likely deep in the Hamas tunnel network."

Also, after more than a month of mutual criticism, the White House reported that President Joe Biden spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This is the first publicly disclosed contact in recent weeks. The leaders discussed sending more humanitarian aid to Gaza and Israel's pending operation in Rafah.