JERUSALEM – As the Israeli government today decided to press ahead with its war against Palestinian rocket-fire from Gaza, new details emerged revealing the Hamas terror group’s use of human shields while fighting Israeli forces in Gaza.
Israel last week launched a mid-scale ground and air assault on Hamas positions in Gaza following massive rocket bombardments of Jewish cities by Palestinian terrorists.
In a major escalation last week, Hamas fired long-range Grad rockets at the strategic port city of Ashkelon, home to about 125,000 Israelis. Ashkelon houses a major electrical plant that powers most of the Gaza Strip.
During the fighting, focused largely on the minor Hamas infrastructure in the city of Jabaliya about one mile into the Gaza Strip, an Israeli commander speaking to WND from inside Gaza said Hamas has been drawing Israeli forces into populated civilian areas, shooting at Jewish fighters from occupied civilian homes while women and children were inside.
Now, new details have emerged following Israel Defense Forces military debriefings yesterday with senior personnel from the two brigades that fought in Gaza last weekend.
The commanders described how fighting took place in very densely populated areas and how in many cases Hamas gunmen drew Israeli troops into firing at civilian homes.
In one case, Israel’s Haaretz daily quoted an Israeli commander describing how Hamas sent a 10-year old boy into the battlefield in full view of the Israeli military to remove a gun from a felled terrorist and then pass the weapon to another terrorist. The commander at the scene said he ordered his troops to halt their fire as the Israeli military watched the boy remove and then transfer the weapon to another gunman.
One commander speaking to WND last weekend said Hamas snipers used the windows of a Jabiliya house that was clearly occupied by women and children to shoot at his unit.
“The aim is to draw us into killing civilians to bring about international pressure to end our operation,” the commander said, speaking on condition his name be withheld due to Israeli military restrictions on media interviews by fighting forces.
Still, during last week’s operation, the international community slammed what many world leaders called “Israeli aggression” against Gazan Palestinian civilians.
During an emergency session held Saturday to debate the Gaza fighting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon labeled Israel’s Gaza fighting as a “disproportionate” use of force.
The European Union issued a statement urging Israel to halt activities it claimed endanger civilians, saying they were contrary to international law.
Israel’s stepped up anti-rocket offensive was in response to Hamas’ escalation of rocket attacks. The terrorist group fired hundreds of Qassam and long-range Grads into Israeli civilian population centers, killing one man, wounding dozens and causing devastating damage to homes and buildings, including nursery schools and a medical clinic.
Israel withdrew its ground troops Monday just as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in the region to urge Israel to continue negotiations with the Palestinian Authority aimed at creating a Palestinian state before the end of the year.
In a special security cabinet Knesset session today, the Israeli government decided to continue its offensive against Gaza rocket crews, but a large-scale ground onslaught – the only action most Israeli military experts agree would severely curtail the rocket-fire – was still off the table.
Already today, some 25 IDF armored vehicles advanced into southern Gaza and engaged in clashes with terrorists, killing at least one, while eight Qassam rockets were fired from Gaza into nearby Jewish towns.
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.