Israel is facing mounting international pressure to protect civilians trapped in Gaza’s hospitals, as it released what it said was evidence of a Hamas base in one medical facility.
US President Joe Biden said that Al-Shifa hospital “must be protected” from intense fighting around the complex.
His comments came as Israel released video of what it said was a Hamas hideout under the Rantisi hospital.
It accuses Hamas of using hospitals to hide military bases. Hamas denies this.
The area around Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital, has become the focus of fighting in recent days. Thousands of people are believed to be sheltering there.
They have told the BBC that more than 100 bodies lay unburied in courtyards, and anyone trying to leave the complex – or even move between buildings – risks death due to the violence in the area.
Mr Biden’s comments were echoed by the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who stated on Monday evening that while Israel had “a right to defend itself against terror”, it must also “act within international law”.
He urged Israel to “take all measures to protect innocent civilians, including at hospitals … and allow more aid into Gaza”.
Their statements follow pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, who implored Israel to stop killing babies and women in a BBC interview.
Israel maintains that it has not fired directly on hospitals in Gaza but says tunnel networks under them are used by Hamas as “instruments of war” to plan and launch attacks on Israeli forces. The Israeli military has vowed to destroy Hamas, a designated terror group in the US, UK and EU, in the Gaza Strip.
On Monday night, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released what it said was evidence of Hamas activity in Rantisi children’s hospital in northern Gaza City, that backed up its claim.
In a six-minute video marked as “raw footage”, the IDF’s chief spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari is seen saying he is at a tunnel 200 metres away from Rantisi.
In the video, Hagari points to the tunnel entrance, which he says he believes is “connected” to the hospital, and electrical wiring he says proved solar panels had been powering a bunker.
No further evidence is provided for the existence of a command centre but the IDF spokesman said investigations were continuing.
The footage then cuts to basement rooms he says are inside Rantisi hospital. He points to a cache of weapons, including explosive belts and grenades, and a motorcycle with what he says is bullet damage.
Rear Admiral Hagari says there are signs that hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the group’s attack on Israel had been held in the basement.
A shot shows a chair with what appears to be rope ties, below a control panel marked “World Health Organization” with a child’s feeding bottle resting on top.
In another room, he points to a calendar on the wall counting the days in Arabic from 7 October – the date of Hamas’s attack into southern Israel.
Rear Admiral Hagari claims the calendar shows the “terrorists’ shifts” as they guarded the room. He says names were written alongside shift times.
The top of this document mentions the “al-Aqsa flood” – Hamas’s codename for the 7 October attacks. However, the Arabic words translate to the days of the week, not names.
He separately states that the room is decorated with curtains like a video studio. Of the hostage videos released by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, none have shown a matching pattern in the background.
The IDF escorted CNN journalists around the site and the hospital, which was evacuated on Friday. BBC News has not visited the site and is not able to independently verify any of the allegations made by Hagari.
Hamas called the Israeli video “blatant lies” that did nothing to “justify its bombing of hospitals”.
It said the video was part of an “incitement campaign” that would “pave the way for the destruction of hospitals over the heads of the patients”.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says that more than 11,000 people have been killed in Israel’s operations against Hamas, since the group killed 1,200 people in Israel on 7 October and took about 240 people hostage.