In a recent revelation, a former British doctor, who previously worked at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, shed light on the existence of restricted areas within the facility, ominously labeled as “no-go areas.” This disclosure has reignited the longstanding debate over the hospital’s alleged dual use, with Israel consistently asserting that it serves as a hiding place for the militant group Hamas.

The doctor, requesting anonymity, disclosed that he had been explicitly warned about potential danger should he venture into these restricted zones. Israel has long maintained that Al-Shifa houses a command-and-control center in a network of tunnels beneath the hospital, raising concerns about its use for military purposes.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently announced the discovery of a 55-meter-long tunnel at Al-Shifa, adding fuel to the controversy. The IDF’s findings also included the recovery of the bodies of two hostages, kidnapped last month, further intensifying the scrutiny on the hospital.

Hamas has vehemently denied allegations that the hospital is being used for military activities, emphasizing its role as a medical facility. However, the doctor’s account of being cautioned away from specific areas within the hospital suggests otherwise.

During the doctor’s three-month tenure at Al-Shifa in 2021, he was explicitly warned to avoid certain sections, with an implicit understanding that these areas were repurposed for non-medical activities. The doctor observed individuals entering and leaving these restricted zones, contributing to an atmosphere of collective paranoia among hospital staff.

The IDF’s claim of discovering weapon stashes within Al-Shifa further deepens the controversy surrounding the hospital. While Hamas continues to deny any military involvement within its premises, the ongoing tensions and conflicting accounts raise concerns about the hospital’s true nature.

Despite the controversies, the hospital has been subjected to intense military attacks by the IDF. On Sunday, the IDF permitted the evacuation of 31 premature babies from Al-Shifa to Egypt, underscoring the complex challenges faced by medical facilities amid the ongoing conflict.

The allegations and counterclaims surrounding Al-Shifa hospital highlight the complexities of the situation in Gaza, where geopolitical tensions intersect with humanitarian concerns. As the international community closely monitors developments, the quest for an accurate understanding of the hospital’s role in the conflict remains a pressing issue.