The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Thursday arrested Mohammed Abu Selemya, director of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, along with few other staffers of the largest medical facility in the besieged enclave.
The hospital has been one of the major focus areas of the Israeli military ground offensive in Gaza it launched on October 27.
The IDF has maintained that the Hamas militant group operates a command centre underneath Al-Shifa and also uses the medical complex as a base, with several tunnel entry points within the hospital.
The allegations however, have been repeatedly denied by the militant group as well as the Palestinian Health Ministry and the hospital authorities.
In several statements, the IDF has claimed that the hostages captured by the Hamas on october 7 were kept in the tunnels underneath the hospital.
On Sunday night, the military had confirmed that 19-year-old corporal Noa Marciano, whose body was found last week near the Al-Shifa Hospital, was murdered by the Hamas.
Marciano’s body was found a day after the remains of of a 65-year-old abductee Yehudit Weiss was discovered in the premises of the Al-Shifa.
Thursday’s development comes as after a four-day humanitarian pause in fighting, which was agreed by the Hamas and Israel, has been delayed.
The pause was expected to start on Thursday. But an Israeli government source says they believe the deal will go ahead on Friday
In the first phase of the pause, Hamas will release 50 hostages from Gaza, and Israel will free 150 Palestinian detainees