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New Evidence from IDF: Hamas Still Using Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit released a video showing an Air Force strike of a Hamas weapons storage site in northern Gaza, saying this provides further evidence Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields:

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) confirmed direct hits on Hamas terrorist facilities which were embedded deep into the Gazan population. Despite Hamas' tactics of using its own Palestinian population centers as a human shield, the IAF does its best to solely target armed terrorists and avoid any civilian casualties.

The strike on the arsenal came after 20 rockets were launched over the weekend from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians. The IDF says the munitions arsenal was situated in a residential area. After the initial strike, the viewer can see a “massive secondary explosion” and “secondary explosions from hidden munitions.” View the video here:

The phenomenon of Hamas hiding behind Palestinian civilians isn’t new. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published a report in 2009 called “Hamas' Exploitation of Civilians as Human Shields” documenting the numerous instances in which Hamas launched attacks from areas densely populated by Palestinian civilians.

It reported the vast military infrastructure, including rocket and mortar caches, is “hidden in and around civilian homes” of densely-populated Gaza. It says this tactic was inspired by Hezbollah:

The calculated, cynical use of the civilian population as human shields is intended to decrease the vulnerability of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations by affording them a kind of immunity from the IDF’s counterterrorism activities, since they are aware that Israel avoids harming the civilian population insofar as is possible. It is also intended to make it possible for Hamas and the other terrorist organizations to make political-propaganda gains in the battle for hearts and minds by representing Israel as operating against innocent civilians.

[…]Using civilians as human shields is a war crime, a grave breach of the laws of armed conflict and a crime against humanity. Rockets and mortar shells are routinely fired from built up, densely populated areas and near structures and facilities (including educational institutions and mosques) provided special protection by the Geneva Conventions.

Besides the new aerial Gaza video, the IDF revealed another nefarious terrorist tactic. Spokeswoman Avital Leibovich posted this photo of what she dubbed “mock rock.”

Leibovich says it’s just one example of disguises in which roadside explosives are hidden, adding “These kind of devices are often used against IDF soldiers patrolling near Gaza.” They’re also a weapon U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are all too familiar with, hidden on the road in a range of innocent-looking items, household goods and even animal carcasses.

(H/T: Ynet)

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