Douglas Murray enters Gaza with the Israeli Defence Forces and tells Julia Hartley-Brewer about the 'tide of misery' caused by Hamas

Thursday 16 November 2023

Journalist Douglas Murray has entered Gaza with the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) along the same route used by Hamas when it invaded Israel on October 7th.

He was able to get to within one kilometre of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where Israeli forces continue to search for tunnels that Hamas fighters may have withdrawn to, perhaps with Israeli hostages.

This hospital has been described as the command centre of Hamas operations, making it a focus of Israel's military offensive.

Speaking to TalkTV's Julia Hartley-Brewer, he said: "It is one of the main centres of the fighting and you can see that everywhere. The minute you get past the fence, you can see the villages, there's one place called Zeitoun where there's very considerable firefights and explosions.

"Obviously house to house fighting has been going on since the beginning of this, we went about three kilometres further into Gaza ... it's a tide of human misery caused by Hamas starting this war on 7th October.

"Hamas wants civilians to remain in the north to make the house-to-house fighting as difficult as possible for the Israelis.

"It's a very dangerous exercise for the IDF because they don't know who's coming through. They have to make sure the people coming through are not Hamas fighters, let alone leaders and not Israeli hostages being brought further south into Gaza.

"You don't need the account of the Israelis at the hospital to question whether it is a Hamas headquarters and used as an armaments dump. The IDF released footage yesterday from inside the hospital showing ammunition.

Premature babies under treatment in neonatal intensive care unit after being removed from incubators 

A young injured girl awaits treatment at the emergency ward of the Al-Shifa hospital

A man screams as he carries a toddler rushes into the Al-Shifa Hospital

Last month, the IDF accused Hamas of locating its main base base underneath Al-Shifa.

It gave a presentation that used 3D modelling to visualise an alleged network of underground tunnels and control rooms.

An IDF spokesman said the hospital was connected to a network of tunnels and there was “concrete evidence” that hundreds of Hamas fighters had hidden in the hospital after 7 October.

The World Health Organisation has called the Israeli soldiers' raid on Al-Shifa Hospital “totally unacceptable”.

Martin Griffiths, UN spokesman for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief said he was "appalled" by reports of the raids.

"Hospitals are not battlegrounds," he said. "The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns."