The Israeli military shared video and photographs on Monday showing what it said were weapons stored by Hamas in the basement of a children's hospital in Gaza where it also said hostages appear to have been held, APA reports citing Reuters.
Military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said troops had found a command centre with an armoury of weapons including grenades, suicide vests and other explosives stored by Hamas fighters in the basement of Rantissi Hospital, a paediatric hospital with a specialty in treating cancer patients.
"And we also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here," he told a televised briefing. "This is currently under our investigation. But we also have intelligence that verifies it."
He showed footage of what appeared to be rudimentary living quarters, including a small kitchen, as well as a nearby tunnel shaft which he said led to the house of a senior Hamas naval commander.
"Hamas took all this area under its control and conducted its war against Israelis from this hospital," he said.
In addition, troops found a motorcycle with gunshot marks which he said appeared to have been used to bring hostages to Gaza after the surprise attack on Oct. 7 when Hamas gunmen stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and seizing around 240 captives, according to Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Israel has launched an intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip and followed up with a ground operation that has seen troops push deep into the enclave. More than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials.