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Al-Shifa Hospital raid one of the 'single largest' operations in the war: Israeli military sources

Israeli military sources are now beginning to call the Israel Defense Forces' weeklong raid on Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa, one of the "single largest and most successful" operations in the nearly six-month war with Hamas.

The IDF launched an operation at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, claiming "senior Hamas terrorists" were using the hospital, located in Gaza City, to "conduct and promote terrorist activity."

PHOTO: A picture shows smoke billowing after Israeli bombardment in the vicinity of the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 23, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: A picture shows smoke billowing after Israeli bombardment in the vicinity of the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 23, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Israeli military said it has detained more than 800 men and that about 480 of them are Hamas or Islamic Jihad members. Special intelligence units have begun to interrogate some of them, and those who were found not to be affiliated with militant groups were released, according to the IDF. Israeli officials have said more than 140 Hamas terrorists have been killed throughout the course of the operation.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Thursday the operation at Al-Shifa would go on "for some days."

MORE: Israeli military warns Gazans to evacuate Al-Shifa Hospital as raid continues

The IDF did not release video Sunday from the hospital, but in recent days released footage of food and water being delivered by special units to the roughly 3,000 civilians estimated to be sheltering in the hospital, according to the IDF and Palestinian health officials.

People near the area were purportedly being told to leave as reports emerged of some buildings in the vicinity of the complex being detonated. At least 3,000 Gazans remain trapped at Al-Shifa with limited food and water due to the siege, according to hospital officials.

However, an Israeli official said militants are holed up inside the hospital and that rather than send in troops, the military is calling for them to surrender.

PHOTO: Palestinian woman Nozha Awad flees Al Shifa hospital following an Israeli raid with her triplet children, moving southward in the central Gaza Strip, March 21, 2024.  (Ramadan Abed/Reuters)
PHOTO: Palestinian woman Nozha Awad flees Al Shifa hospital following an Israeli raid with her triplet children, moving southward in the central Gaza Strip, March 21, 2024. (Ramadan Abed/Reuters)

Telecommunications are down near the hospital, but families who managed to flee the hospital arrived Sunday in central Gaza -- some of them in tattered sandals and some others too overcome to talk. One family was filmed telling a local reporter there were explosions everywhere, and that "the walls fell on us, we are from the Shifa complex ... and this child," said the woman gesturing to an infant wrapped in a blanket in her arms, "was under the doors." She said there are dead "beneath the rubble, there are burning houses -- they are demolishing them over people's heads."

MORE: Famine is 'imminent' in northern Gaza, with many facing 'catastrophic' levels of hunger: Report

Israel has said it has not conducted targeted attacks against hospitals and claims Hamas misuses hospitals -- operating inside and underneath them in tunnels and using them as command centers, as well as to store weapons. The IDF has released videos it claims are evidence of Hamas operations. Hamas denies the accusations.

The IDF has said it is only targeting Hamas and other militants in Gaza and alleges that Hamas deliberately shelters behind civilians, which the group denies.

PHOTO: Smoke rises above buildings during Israeli bombardment as people fleeing the Al-Shifa hospital compound and its vicinity in Gaza City, reach the central part of the Gaza Strip on March 21, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Smoke rises above buildings during Israeli bombardment as people fleeing the Al-Shifa hospital compound and its vicinity in Gaza City, reach the central part of the Gaza Strip on March 21, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas carried out an unprecedented incursion from Gaza into southern Israel by air, land and sea on Oct. 7, 2023, killing more than 1,200 people and taking 253 others hostage, according to Israeli authorities. More than 31,400 Palestinians have been killed and more than 72,000 others have been injured in Gaza since Oct. 7, amid Israel's ongoing ground operations and aerial bombardment of the strip, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

This is not the first time Israeli forces have raided the Al-Shifa medical complex during the war with Hamas. An operation also occurred in November, with IDF soldiers claiming they found weapons and a tunnel complex at the hospital.

Prior to the current raid, international organizations had said Al-Shifa was in a "dire" situation.

Al-Shifa Hospital raid one of the 'single largest' operations in the war: Israeli military sources originally appeared on abcnews.go.com