DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces pressed their offensive against Hamas in northern Gaza on Monday, battling militants around the Indonesian hospital. Israel said its troops returned fire on militants who targeted them from inside the 3.5-acre compound.
In a separate development, dozens of trucks entered from Egypt on Monday with equipment from Jordan to set up a field hospital. Jordan’s state-run media said the hospital in the southern town of Khan Younis would be up and running within 48 hours.
Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the gates of Shifa hospital for days before entering the facility on Wednesday.
Israel’s army said it has evidence that Hamas maintained a sprawling command post inside and under the hospital’s 20-acre, which includes several buildings.
On Sunday, the military released a video showing what it said was a tunnel discovered at the hospital, 60 yards long and about 33 feet below ground. It said the tunnel ended at a blast-proof door with a hole in it for gunmen to fire out of. Troops have not opened the door yet, it said.
Israeli forces also released security camera video showing what they said were two foreign hostages, one Thai and one Nepalese, who were captured by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack and taken to the hospital. Hamas said its fighters brought them in for medical care.
The army also said an investigation had determined that Israeli army Cpl. Noa Marciano, another captive whose body was recovered in Gaza, had been wounded in an Israeli strike on Nov. 9 that killed her captor, but was then killed by a Hamas militant in Shifa.
The military has previously released images of several guns it said were found inside an MRI lab and said that the bodies of two hostages were found near the complex.
Israel has repeatedly ordered Palestinians to leave northern Gaza and seek refuge in the south, which has also been under aerial bombardment since the start of the war. Some 1.7 million people, nearly three quarters of Gaza’s population, have been displaced, with 900,000 packing into crowded U.N.-run shelters, according to the U.N.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry claimes more than 12,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, a claim that could not be independently verified. Their count of the dead and missing does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. Israel says it has killed thousands of militants.
About 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, mainly civilians during the Oct. 7 attack, in which Hamas dragged some 240 captives back into Gaza. The military says 66 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza ground operations.
Hamas has released four hostages, Israel has rescued one, and the bodies of two were found near Shifa.
Israel, the United States and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating a hostage release for weeks. Israel's three-member war Cabinet is to meet with representatives of the hostages’ families on Monday evening.