Israel’s Remarkable Discovery of a 55-Meter Fortified Tunnel beneath Shifa Hospital

Israel has published video of a tunnel dug by Palestinian militants under the Gaza Strip’s Shifa Hospital, a focus of its search-and-destroy missions against Hamas militants. Hamas has denied having hundreds of kilometers of secret tunnels, bunkers, and access shafts throughout the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli military engineers discovered a tunnel used by Hamas to block Israeli forces from entering Hamas’ command centers and underground assets. At least 31 premature babies have been evacuated from Shifa Hospital and will be transported to Egypt. Two Palestinians were killed in Israeli raids on the West Bank. Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog, expressed hope that many Hamas hostages could be freed in the next few days, with a possible five-day pause in fighting.

The US is “closer than we have been perhaps at any point since negotiations over the hostage release” began weeks ago, according to White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer. Finer noted that there are areas of difference and disagreement that have been narrowed, if not closed out entirely, but no deal has been reached.

The US faces challenges in ensuring accurate hostage numbers in Gaza due to its limited presence through intermediaries. Israeli airstrikes have killed or wounded dozens of Palestinian civilians, including one in the Jabaliya refugee camp. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a humanitarian cease-fire, while Israeli military claims its actions aim to strike terrorists while minimizing civilian harm.

Israel has issued new warnings to Palestinians in the southern city of Khan Younis to relocate from areas where Israeli officials earlier had told people it was safe. Palestinian authorities now claim that over 13,000 people have been killed in Gaza and 30,000 injured since Israel launched a major air and ground offensive in response to the October 7 Hamas terror attack. Israel has claimed that 57 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza since entering the territory.

On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes killed at least 47 people in Khan Younis and the vicinity, with one airstrike hitting two apartment buildings in Khan Younis, killing 26 Palestinians and wounding 23. A house in Deir Al-Balah was bombed, killing six more. Internet and phone service were restored to the Gaza Strip on Saturday, ending a telecommunications outage that had forced the United Nations to shut down critical aid deliveries.

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