The BBC cast doubt on Israeli allegations of Hamas military activity in Gaza’s largest hospital
A picture shows a view of the exterior of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on November 10, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. © AFP
Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Peter Lerner has asked the BBC and its editor Jeremy Bowen to apologize, after they called into question IDF evidence of a Hamas presence at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers have been in Al-Shifa since early Wednesday, releasing footage from inside the medical complex. Lerner posted CCTV footage from the site on X (formerly Twitter), along with his verbal description of “weapons, communication equipment, RPGS, [and a] Toyota pickup laden with weapons” apparently found there. The video also showed men being carried on a gurney, their faces blurred. “Will BBCWorld apologize? Will BowenBBC say I was wrong?” he wrote.
His post was aimed at Jeremy Bowen, a BBC editor who criticized IDF restrictions on reporting from Al-Shifa in an article on Saturday, saying that “there is no independent scrutiny inside the hospital; journalists cannot move freely into Gaza, and any who are reporting from the site are working under the aegis of the Israeli military.”
Al-Shifa is the largest hospital in Gaza, and has been in the media spotlight for the past six weeks. It was the location of much of the Palestinian Health Ministry’s footage of civilians injured by IDF operations. Israel has claimed the hospital is connected to Hamas’ extensive network of underground tunnels, and was being used as a part of the militants’ infrastructure.
On October 7, Hamas launched a coordinated attack on Israel, killing at least 1,200 Israelis and injuring thousands more, as well as capturing more than 200 hostages, according to local authorities.