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What images and videos tell us about the Israeli presence in Shifa Hospital in Gaza?

For over a week, Israeli forces have occupied Al-Shifa Hospital, one of the few remaining major medical facilities in northern Gaza.

On the ground, tanks, soldiers and heavy equipment replace ambulances and patients. Evidence of potentially irreparable damage can be seen above.

On March 26, a fire broke out on the grounds of al-Shifa Hospital. Satellite images taken by Planet that day clearly show smoke rising from the hospital grounds, centered around the operating room building and emergency room.

The images appear to match those taken on the ground and images shared by Israeli journalist Yinon Magal on the same day.

One from Mr. Magal on Telegram and

A picture of Shifa Hospital published on March 26th. Image: @YINONEWS
Picture:
An image of al-Shifa Hospital published on March 26. Image: @YINONEWS

The covered bridge that formerly connected to the emergency room was destroyed.

Video filmed later shows a prisoner being led outside the same building, the front of which is badly damaged by fire. An armored vehicle appears to be parked in front.

A screenshot from IDF footage showing the emergency room (left) and the operations building (right). Images: Planet Labs PBC and IDF via Reuters
Picture:
A screenshot from IDF footage showing the emergency room (left) and the operations building (right). Images: Planet Labs PBC and IDF via Reuters

A video released by the IDF on March 25 confirms that the damage shown to the building is recent.

While the exact timing of the recording is unknown, the presence of tanks and track markers in the yard are consistent with satellite images taken in recent days after the Israelis entered the site. There is no visible fire damage.

A video released by Mr Magal alongside footage filmed outside shows men kneeling in a damaged corridor. Furniture in offices has been overturned and graffiti can be seen on the walls.

The caption attached to these images suggests that they all show Al-Shifa Hospital. However, Sky News was unable to determine the exact location shown in this video.

While Israeli forces have entered Al-Shifa Hospital before, their latest operation began on the night of March 17-18.

Image: Maxar Technologies
Picture:
Image: Maxar Technologies

Claiming that Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants were present at the hospital, Israeli troops and aircraft launched an operation that culminated in the encirclement and occupation of Al Shifa.

footage Demonstrations recorded nearby the lengthy nature of this first operation.

It was recorded sporadically on the upper floors of a building near the hospital and posted between 2:59 a.m. and 12:21 p.m. It shows explosions and the presence of Israeli armored vehicles. The sound of gunshots, planes and explosions can be heard everywhere.

Image: Planet Labs PBC and IDF
Picture:
Image: Planet Labs PBC and IDF

The first raid against Al-Shifa Hospital was also documented by the IDF, releasing a video containing aerial photographs taken at numerous locations in the area.

While the IDF captioned two of the clips “Fire on IDF troops from Shifa Hospital,” Sky News noted that they were filmed nearby, outside the hospital premises.

The two remaining aerial shots were filmed in the complex, one at the main entrance and the other north of the operations building.

They show people moving around the hospital grounds and shooting from the courtyard, between buildings and inside a hospital building.

Israeli armored vehicles in and around the hospital. Image: Planet Labs PBC
Picture:
Israeli armored vehicles in and around the hospital. Image: Planet Labs PBC

High-resolution satellite images taken by Planet on March 20 show that Israeli forces maintained a strong presence in al-Shifa in the days following the initial raid.

In these images, a large number of armored vehicles can be clearly seen grouped in an area to the south of the hospital grounds and lined up along a road bordering the hospital grounds to the north.

Image: Planet Labs PBC
Picture:
Image: Planet Labs PBC

Since then, footage and images have emerged from the complex. While the exact date of the recording is unclear, newly reclaimed earth suggests it was filmed after Israeli troops entered the complex in mid-March.

They were first shared publicly on social media on March 20 and show the hospital’s courtyard near the main gate. It shows a large number of men dressed in white being held and prepared for transport.

Israel has claimed that over 170 militants were killed and another 500 were arrested by its forces during its operation at al-Shifa hospital. These numbers and characterizations have not been independently verified.

Through official channels, the IDF has shared photos and videos documenting its presence on the grounds of Al-Shifa Hospital.

Image: Planet Labs PBC
Picture:
Image: Planet Labs PBC

In a video, soldiers move through rooms in the hospital’s outpatient building. During a stop, they display a collection of grenades, ammunition and other materials allegedly left behind by militants.

In another video, Lt. Col. Naor Bublil of the Nahal Reconnaissance Battalion stands in front of an MRI machine and shows weapons and ammunition he claims were found nearby.

The origin of the weapons shown in these videos has not been independently verified.

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