The top Hamas leadership slept inside a children’s hospital in Gaza City the night of December 27, 2008, to escape Israeli targeted killings after the IDF launched Operation Cast Lead, according to intelligence revealed in a new report aimed at countering the Goldstone Report.
According to the paper, compiled by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), Hamas used over 10 hospitals during last year’s operation to launch rockets at Israeli towns and to attack IDF troops operating inside the Gaza Strip.
The Goldstone Report concluded it could not confirm Israel’s claims that Hamas used hospitals for military purposes during the operation.
“The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes,” Judge Richard Goldstone wrote in his report.
The Malam report rejects Goldstone’s conclusion and provides declassified intelligence information as well as Palestinian testimonies that Hamas stored weapons and established command centers inside hospitals and even fired rockets and set up military positions adjacent to the medical centers.
One of the more famous cases was the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which Israel said was used during the operation as a hideout for top Hamas terror chiefs. According to the Malam report, intelligence obtained by Israel showed that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Foreign Minister Mohammed Zahar and Interior Minister Said Siam were based inside a bunker underneath the hospital’s burn ward.
Terrorists also set up military posts next to the hospital, which they used to fire mortars at Israeli troops who discovered a tunnel underneath a mosque located next to the hospital, which led to the maternity ward and was used by terrorists to move undetected between the buildings.
Hamas also set up a command center inside one of the wings of a children’s hospital in the Nasser neighborhood of Gaza City, where the top Hamas leadership slept the night of December 27. Due to the sensitivity of the intelligence information, the report does not specify which leaders were in the hospital that night.
Another hospital extensively used by Hamas was the Al-Fahoura Medical Center in the northern Gaza Strip, next to which Hamas built a training camp and a military base.
Aerial photographs, disclosed in the Malam report, show that the area
around the hospital was heavily mined and that tunnels were dug around
the building as well as under the medical center. Rockets were also
launched in close proximity.
“Hamas did this since it was
correct in its assumption that the IDF would refrain from attacking
hospitals and that terrorists would receive so-called immunity by
operating there,” the Malam report states.