Biden demands Gaza hospitals be 'protected' after US official confirms Hamas HQ located underneath
"We would love to see Hamas vacate the hospitals it's using," a State Department spokesperson said.
President Joe Biden said hospitals in Gaza "must be protected" in remarks that came hours after a U.S. official reportedly confirmed that Hamas has a command node under Al-Shifa Hospital and that its fighters took fuel that Israel gave the medical center.
CNN reported shortly after noon Monday that a U.S. official said Hamas is stationed under the Al-Shifa Hospital and takes fuel intended for the center, which is Gaza's largest hospital.
"It is my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital," Biden told reporters Monday afternoon during an event establishing the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research.
"There is an effort to take this pause to deal [with] the release of prisoners, and that’s being negotiated as well with – the Qataris are engaged and – so, I remain somewhat hopeful. But the hospital must be protected," he also said.
Multiple administration officials confirmed to ABC News after Biden's remarks Monday that U.S. intelligence supports Israel's assessment that Hamas has a command center under Al-Shifa.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller would not comment on Al-Shifa specifically, but said, "Hamas continues to use hospitals as locations for its command posts."
He also said: "We would love to see Hamas vacate the hospitals it's using [as] command posts immediately. We would love to see all the people that are calling for Israel to take steps to protect hospitals call for Hamas to vacate the hospitals and stop using civilians as human shields."
Hamas, the internationally recognized terror group that governs the Gaza Strip, has denied the allegations regarding Al-Shifa, according to Qatari state-owned outlet Al-Jazeera.