Israel Latest: Troops Reported Inside of Gaza Hospital Compound

(Bloomberg) -- Israeli forces entered Gaza’s Shifa hospital compound as part of a “precise and targeted operation” against Hamas. The US earlier said it has intelligence confirming Israel’s assertion that Hamas and other Iran-backed militant groups are using hospitals, including Shifa, to conceal and support their operations.

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Israel may be nearing a deal with Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union, for the return of some of the hostages taken in its Oct. 7 attack, Israeli broadcaster Kan News said.

The Biden administration is increasingly frustrated with Israel’s conduct of the war as civilian deaths rise. Tens of thousands of people gathered on Washington’s National Mall to express support for Israel in one of the largest such demonstrations since the war began.

For more stories on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

All time stamps are Israeli time:

Netanyahu-Trudeau Trade Barbs Over Casualties (5:15 a.m.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back publicly at Justin Trudeau after the Canadian prime minister lamented “the human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al Shifa Hospital.”

Netanyahu, in a social media post, said Israel is doing all it can to protect civilians and that Hamas is responsible “for committing a double war crime — targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians.”

Israeli Troops Reported in Hospital Basement (5:00 a.m.)

A spokesperson for the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said on Al Jazeera that Israeli troops were searching through the basement of the Shifa hospital. Israel has said Hamas uses areas beneath hospital facilities, including basements and tunnels, to hide troops and store weapons.

Biden-Netanyahu Discussed Hostage Situation (4:09 a.m.)

Biden spoke with Netanyahu Tuesday afternoon about efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, the White House said in a statement.

It wasn’t clear if the two leaders spoke before the Israel Defense Forces operation at the Shifa hospital, or if Biden was informed of Israel’s plans. White House officials said they had intelligence suggesting that some of those captured during the Oct. 7 raid on Israel had been held under the hospital complex.

Troops Reported Inside Hospital Compound (3:45 a.m.)

Regional news channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya said the Israeli military had entered the Shifa hospital compound, following the IDF statement that it would carry out an operation against Hamas at the facility.

The scale of the Israeli move wasn’t immediately clear, but the decision is likely to fuel international criticism, even after Israel said Hamas used the hospital and other medical facilities to hide its forces. Hamas rejects the charge.

Hundreds of patients, medical personnel and displaced civilians were at the Shifa hospital in recent days, and supplies of medicine and fuel were believed to be running very low.

Israeli Forces Begin Operation at Key Gaza Hospital (2:10 a.m.)

Israel Defense Forces said they are “carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital.” In a statement, the IDF said that they had “conveyed to the relevant authorities in Gaza once again that all military activities within the hospital must cease within 12 hours. Unfortunately, it did not.”

Hamas has denied using the facility as a base of operations. A health ministry official at the hospital told Bloomberg that Israeli tanks were at the gates of the complex.

Pentagon Sends More Armaments to Israel (12:30 a.m.)

The Pentagon has quietly stepped up military aid to Israel, delivering on requests that include more laser-guided missiles for its Apache gunship fleet, as well as 155mm shells, night-vision devices, bunker-buster munitions and new army vehicles, according to an internal Defense Department list.

The weapons pipeline to Israel is extending beyond the well-publicized provision of Iron Dome interceptors and Boeing Co. smart bombs. It continues even as Biden administration officials increasingly caution the Israeli government to try to avoid civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

Tens of Thousands Turn Out in Washington to Support Israel (10:20 p.m.)

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Washington’s National Mall to express support for Israel in one of the largest such demonstrations since the war began.

Congressional leaders addressed the crowd, denouncing what they said was rising antisemitism and pledging continued backing for Israel. Organizers said the event drew more than 200,000 people, but there was no official confirmation of that estimate.

Security was tight at the event, but there were no immediate reports of violence. Thousands of supporters of Palestinians demonstrated in Washington on Nov. 5.

US Says Intelligence Confirms Hamas Hides Under Hospitals (9:40 p.m.)

The US has intelligence confirming Israel’s assertion that Hamas and other Iran-backed militant groups are using hospitals — including the central Al-Shifa facility in Gaza — to conceal and support their operations, the White House said.

The groups “operate a command and control node” from Al-Shifa and have stored weapons and used tunnels underneath the hospital to hide their military operations, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One. The US also believes that the groups have held hostages under the hospital, he added, without specifying the source of the information.

The US said it believes militants were “prepared to respond to a military operation” by Israel against the facility. White House officials have said they don’t want to see an aerial bombing of the facility or a firefight inside, because they don’t want innocent patients to be hurt in the crossfire. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s spokesman, called on Hamas operatives hiding under hospitals to surrender so as not to endanger patients.

More Signs of Hostage Deal With Hamas Cited by Broadcaster (9:27 p.m.)

Israel may be nearing a deal with Hamas for the return of some of the hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, Kan News says.

Negotiators are currently discussing the names of Hamas members who would be released as part of the deal, the stages in which the agreement would be carried out and the number of days that Israel must agree to a cease-fire, the Israeli public broadcaster reported. Axios reporter Barak Ravid said that the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security services met with the Egyptian intelligence chief in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss efforts to free the hostages as well as Egypt’s role during the war and afterward.

Israel Says It Seized Control of a Hamas Camp (6:59 p.m.)

Israel’s military said it has gained control over the Shati Camp in northern Gaza. “Inside the camp are Hamas infrastructure and battalions, including the Shati Battalion, which took a central part in the invasion and massacre of Saturday, October 7th,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Combined air and ground forces struck numerous targets on the outskirts of the Shati Camp over several days, including buildings and government institutions belonging to Hamas from which the IDF said “terrorist activity was directed against the citizens of Israel and IDF forces.”

During the operation Hamas operatives were apprehended and transferred to Israel for interrogation, according to the Israeli statement.

Biden Expresses Confidence Hostages Will Be Released (6:08 p.m.)

President Joe Biden said he’s optimistic the remaining hostages taken by Hamas during its Oct. 7 assault on Israel would be released. “I’ve been talking with the people involved every single day,” Biden told reporters. “I believe it’s going to happen. But I don’t want to get into detail.”

The Biden administration has been in touch with the Israeli government as well as leaders in Qatar, which houses Hamas’s political office, about securing the release of the hostages.

Asked to deliver a message of hope to the hostages, Biden said, “Hang in there, we’re coming.”

War Cabinet Minister Says Cease-Fire Wouldn’t End War (5:16 p.m.)

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, said that “even if a cease-fire is required for the return of hostages from Gaza, there will be no stopping of the war.” He said Israel is making every “political and military effort to bring the daughters and the sons home safely.”

Gantz, a former defense minister, spoke during a visit to Israel’s northern border, where there have been escalating exchanges between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah, prompting the evacuation of 60,000 Israeli citizens. “I see Nasrallah’s conduct and ask: Has he lost touch with reality? This question should now be asked by Lebanese citizens and the Lebanese government,” Gantz said, referring to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Israeli Gas Flows to Egypt to Recover (4:39 p.m.)

Israel’s natural gas flows to Egypt are expected to almost double and reach pre-war levels early next week, according to a person familiar with Egyptian imports, after a major offshore field resumed output on easing safety concerns.

Imports are expected to rise to 650 million cubic feet a day on Thursday, and to the normal level of 800 million early next week, from about 250 million earlier in November, the person said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public.

Hamas Media Office Says Gaza Deaths Top 11,500 (3:47 p.m.)

The Hamas-run media office said more than 11,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict. Medical workers at the Al-Shifa hospital have buried some of the dead in a mass grave on the facility’s grounds, according to health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qedra.

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