April 25, 2009.
IDF probes opened following the offensive discovered that Haniyeh and other
senior Hamas commanders took over a ward of the hospital, the Gaza Strip’s
largest, and set up a command center for the duration of the campaign.
Hamas believed that Israel would not target the hospital due to the high risk of
Guards were posted at the entrance to the ward and field commanders took
advantage of the humanitarian corridor and cessation of action that the IDF
instituted every day for several hours, to enter the hospital and meet with
senior Hamas officials to receive instructions.
Senior Hamas commanders also set up a command center in a Red Crescent
Society clinic in Khan Yunis and used it as a detention center.
An IDF investigation, conducted by Col. Erez Katz, focused on the targeting of
health facilities, vehicles and medical teams. The probe discovered that out of
seven medical personnel claimed to have been killed by the IDF, five were
Hamas operatives, including a nephew of the Hamas health minister. Two were
The probe also uncovered a number of cases during which Hamas used
ambulances to transport operatives. Testimony by a Gazan medical worker and
obtained by the IDF revealed how Hamas forced the Red Crescent to hand over
medic and nurse uniforms for its operatives.
During the probe, the army also looked into a complaint filed by the United
Nations that the air force had bombed an UNRWA vehicle in the Tel al-Hawa
neighborhood in southern Gaza City. The probe revealed that the vehicle was
bombed since it did not have markings and was driving at night in an area off
limits to civilian vehicles.
Furthermore, the UN vehicle was used to transport a Palestinian anti-tank squad
and was bombed after it unloaded the squad. The driver was wounded; he was
later identified as the former driver of Hamas co-founder Ahmed Yassin, who
was killed by Israel in 2004.