Israeli military shows video of arms it says were found at Al Shifa hospital

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli troops found Hamas weapons and combat gear in Al Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip during a search on Wednesday, chief Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

The army simultaneously released a video that it said showed some of the material recovered from an undisclosed building within the large hospital complex, including automatic weapons, grenades, ammunition and flak jackets.

Hamas, which is battling Israeli forces within the Gaza, dismissed the announcement as "lies and cheap propaganda".

Israel invaded the Palestinian enclave last month and has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist group launched a surprise cross-border assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The military has focused its operations on hospitals across northern Gaza after long accusing Hamas of setting up major command and control centres beneath medical facilities in an effort to avoid air strikes.

Israeli troops forced their way into Al Shifa overnight and have spent the day scouring specific locations within Gaza's largest hospital.

"These assets in Shifa hospital, just like in Rantissi, prove that hospitals have been used for military purposes for terror, in direct opposition to international law," Hagari said.

Israeli soldiers entered the Rantissi paediatric hospital on Monday, later releasing a video showing what it said were weapons stored by Hamas in the building's basement.

The military made no mention on Wednesday of finding any tunnel entrances in Al Shifa. It has previously said that Hamas had built a network of tunnels under the hospital.

Both Hamas and hospital staff have denied this.

Hagari said the search would continue "in a precise way and in accordance with intelligence ... in order to gather more details and to discover more assets".

Hamas accused Israel of fabricating evidence, saying it was "trying to justify its genocidal crimes destroying the health sector in Gaza".

Speaking earlier on CNN, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said Israelis forces had entered a specific area inside the hospital, adding: "There wasn't an all-out attack."

He said fire was exchanged before the Israeli soldiers moved into the hospital, but there was "no engagement whatsoever" once they entered.

Israeli officials have previously suggested that some of the 240 captives seized by Hamas militants in Israel on Oct. 7 might be located underneath Gazan hospitals. However, Hecht said the raid at Al Shifa was not focused on hostages.

"We were focused on bringing intelligence and dismantling certain capabilities that we had intelligence on," he said.

Israel says 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Gaza health officials say more than 11,100 Palestinians are confirmed killed in Israeli's military offensive since then.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Emily Rose, additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by James Mackenzie, Nick Macfie, Timothy Heritage and Cynthia Osterman)