Former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak revealed on Monday that Israel had built bunkers beneath Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital. Israeli forces recently discovered a 55-meter “terrorist tunnel” used by Hamas as a command outpost. Barak stated that the underground space was constructed by Israel many decades ago to provide more operating space for the hospital during Tel Aviv’s occupation of Gaza. He mentioned that it has been known for years that Hamas has used these bunkers, and it is likely that similar structures exist under other hospitals or sensitive locations. Barak clarified that Israel helped build the bunkers to accommodate the hospital’s operations within the limited size of the compound. In the 1980s, Tel Aviv expanded the Al Shifa Hospital compound to include a large cement basement for administrative services. Barak suggested that Hamas may have expanded and connected this basement to other tunnels and bunkers. Israel has accused Hamas of constructing a command center in a tunnel network beneath Gaza City’s largest hospital, a claim supported by US intelligence but denied by Hamas. Last week, Israel released footage and photographs of the tunnel entrance and weapons found inside, which Hamas dismissed as lies and propaganda. Despite the lack of independent confirmation, Israel is seeking to establish the existence of a Hamas command outpost beneath the hospital to counter mounting pressure to cease its military operations. In the meantime, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce, during which Hamas will release at least 50 hostages, including women and children, and Israel will release 150 Palestinians from its jails.
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