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International Urgency: UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Independent Probe into Al-Shifa Hospital Allegations


"UN Human Rights Chief Urges Independent Probe into Al-Shifa Hospital Amid Israeli Claims"

The United Nations' human rights chief, Volker Türk, has called on Israel to allow independent investigators access to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. This request follows Israel's release of a video claiming to show a Hamas "operational tunnel shaft" on the hospital grounds—a claim promptly dismissed by Hamas and medical administrators as "ridiculous." The video, which lacks verification, reveals a hole in the ground with a reinforced concrete shaft but does not show its interior.

Israel faces international pressure to substantiate its allegations regarding Hamas's alleged use of the hospital. Türk emphasized the need for an independent international investigation due to conflicting narratives. He stressed the illegitimacy of employing hospitals for military purposes but also noted the necessity of clear evidence before attacking a hospital.

The video's release coincided with ongoing Israeli operations in and around the hospital complex, described by the IDF as "very specific, contained operations." Since the October 7 attack by Hamas militants, Israel has been conducting airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in a significant number of casualties, including children. Türk emphasized the imperative to investigate the actions of both Israel and Hamas following the October 7 incident.

"UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Accountability Amid Gaza Hospital Controversy"

UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk has emphasized the need for accountability in the wake of the Israeli military's release of a video claiming a Hamas "operational tunnel shaft" at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital. Türk condemned Hamas's actions, citing violations of international law, including the killing of civilians and taking hostages. He also criticized Israel for what he deemed a collective punishment of Gaza through the cutoff of supplies, impacting medical necessities, food, electricity, and water.

Highlighting the special protection hospitals receive under humanitarian law, Türk stressed the importance of effective communication for evacuations and provisions for the care of the wounded. Israel and the US have accused Hamas of operating a command center under the hospital, prompting pressure on Israel to provide evidence.

In response, the Hamas-run government media office dismissed Israel's claim as a "ridiculous scenario," accusing Israel of fabricating narratives. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has repeatedly requested inspections to counter alleged false narratives.

Simultaneously, Israel announced the recovery of the body of Yehudit Weiss, a 65-year-old kidnapped during the October 7 attack. Additionally, the IDF recovered the body of another hostage, 19-year-old Noa Marciano.

"Amidst Ongoing Tensions, IDF Claims Discoveries at Gaza Hospitals"

As tensions escalate, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported finding the bodies of Yehudit Weiss and Noa Marciano in structures near Al-Shifa hospital. The circumstances of their deaths remain unclear. Images released by the IDF showed firearms, body armor, and a laptop, which it claimed contained incriminating material, recovered from the hospital during a raid. Additionally, the IDF asserted discovering a booby-trapped car in the hospital complex containing a significant amount of weapons and ammunition.

The situation at Al-Shifa remains dire, with thousands inside amid catastrophic conditions, depleted supplies, and the hospital no longer considered operational. Reports indicate desperate efforts to care for premature babies and limited procedures conducted by candlelight. Hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya accused Israel of besieging the hospital, sabotaging sections, and freely roaming within its premises.

In a separate announcement, the IDF claimed to have unearthed a tunnel at Al-Rantisi children's hospital in northern Gaza. A CNN team embedded with the IDF was shown firearms and explosives in the basement, referred to as an "armory," and a nearby shaft. The IDF is investigating a potential connection between the tunnel entrance and the hospital. Mohammed Zarqout, a senior health official in Gaza, disputed the claims, stating the basement served as a shelter for women and children, not a storage facility for weaponry or hostages.

"CNN Unable to Verify Claims on Al-Rantisi Hospital; U.S. Reiterates Intelligence on Hamas Presence"

CNN has been unable to independently verify the claims made by both the IDF and Mohammed Zarqout regarding Al-Rantisi hospital. In response to the situation, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated previous statements from the White House, asserting that the U.S. has intelligence indicating that Hamas was using Al-Shifa Hospital as a command and control node, as well as a storage facility beneath it. Kirby stated, "We're very comfortable with our own intelligence assessment for that."

"In conclusion, the escalating tensions surrounding the discoveries and allegations at Al-Shifa and Al-Rantisi hospitals in Gaza continue to raise significant concerns. The IDF claims of tunnels, weapons, and alleged Hamas operations at these medical facilities have not been independently verified by CNN. Amidst the uncertainty, the U.S. stands by its intelligence assessment regarding Hamas's presence in Al-Shifa Hospital. The situation underscores the complexities of the conflict, emphasizing the need for impartial investigations to establish the facts and ensure accountability for any violations of international humanitarian law. As developments unfold, the international community remains vigilant, advocating for transparency and a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis in the region."