IDF detains almost 500 Hamas, Islamic Jihad terrorists at Shifa Hospital in Gaza

Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip, March 23, 2024. Credit: IDF.

(JNS) — Israeli forces arrested 480 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists as part of the battle at the Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City that has gone on for almost a week, the Israel Defense Forces said on March 24.

In addition, troops located weapons and terrorist infrastructure in the medical facility.

The Shin Bet announced that soldiers operating at Shifa captured Mahmoud Qawasmeh, a senior Hamas operative responsible for planning the 2014 kidnapping and murder near Hebron of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel.

The murders led to the IDF’s “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Over the past day, the troops have eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams and medical equipment,” the IDF said.

Qawasmeh had been exiled to Gaza as part of the 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange deal but continued to work on attacks in Judea and Samaria, including shooting attacks carried out by Hamas cells in recent years.

According to Palestinian reports, Israeli forces operating in the area of the medical complex on March 20 also arrested Khaled al-Batash, a senior member of Islamic Jihad‘s political wing.

Meanwhile, Hamas announced the death of Yagev Buchshtab, 34, who was abducted from Kibbutz Nirim on Oct. 7 along with his wife. Rimon Kirsht Buchshtab, 36, was released on Nov. 28 as part of a deal brokered by Qatar and the United States.

The terrorist group said on its Telegram channel that he died “as a result of a lack of medicine and food.”

Meanwhile, the IDF on March 24 announced the death of Staff Sgt. Lior Raviv, 21, from Rishon Lezion, who was killed in action in the northern Gaza Strip. His death raises the total number of soldiers killed in action since the start of the Gaza ground invasion on Oct. 27 to 252, with 596 on all fronts since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

Since March 18, the IDF has been mounting a massive military operation in an attempt to root out a resurgent Hamas presence at the Shifa compound, which Israeli forces first entered in mid-November. Hundreds of terrorists have been killed and arrested during the targeted raids.

The IDF has provided extensive evidence that Hamas uses Shifa and other hospitals in the Gaza Strip for its terrorist activities, which are mostly conducted in a massive tunnel system underneath the complexes.

Furthermore, over the past day, Israeli Air Force fighter jets struck 65 targets in northern and central Gaza, including a tunnel used to carry out attacks, “military” compounds where armed terrorists operated and additional “military infrastructure.”

Moreover, in central Gaza troops killed several terrorists over the past day and conducted a targeted raid on a drone-manufacturing laboratory, killing terrorists outside the compound.

In southern Gaza, IDF snipers killed several terrorists, engineering forces destroyed a rocket launch pit and IDF craft struck terrorist infrastructure. In Khan Yunis, IAF craft struck terrorist infrastructure; terrorists were gathering outside the compound at the time of the strike.

IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) forces overnight on March 23 began an operation in the western Khan Yunis neighborhood of Al Amal to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and kill terrorists.

The operation started with IAF strikes on 40 targets, including “military” compounds, underground tunnels and additional terror infrastructure. IDF troops were encircling the area and engaging gunmen in close combat.