Hamas reveals new details of IDF's botched special operation in Gaza: report
MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)
Hamas revealed new details in a special press conference Saturday regarding Israel Defense Forces (IDF) special forces' botched operation in the Gaza Strip back in November, local media reported.
Members of Hamas' Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades military wing said that Israel had been working to establish an espionage network there, renting a safe house and entering the strip under the guise of a charity organization.
Israel exploited an international organization operating in Gaza and doctored documents in order to advance its efforts, the brigades' spokesperson stated.
According to Hamas' military wing, Israel prepared for the operation for ten months, assembling a force of 15 fighters from the IDF's commando unit that entered the strip covertly at a time of heavy fog.
A Hamas force purportedly tried to arrest the Israeli soldiers before the confrontation in which they killed the Israeli commander.
"The Mujahideen force tried to stop the members of the special force but were surprised by the shooting, and the occupation used its full team to save the force by firing indiscriminately from planes and shelling," the brigades spokesman reportedly told the conference in Arabic.
Hamas said the details revealed were only a fraction of its newly acquired knowledge, explaining that it seized devices and equipment that are a "treasure trove of information" that will provide it with an advantage in intelligence warfare against its nemesis.
Hamas also managed to capture equipment used by the group, Abu Obeida added, promising a million dollars to any local "collaborator" who would supply Hamas with information about the operation.
On Tuesday, Hamas said it had arrested 45 Gazan "collaborators" with Israel following the Khan Yunis incident.
The militant group had already published photos of eight people and two vehicles it said were linked to the operation, prompting the Israeli army censor to appeal to the public and media not to republish the images.
The spokesman added that after the incident, the Brigades could identify additional "Zionist forces" in the Gaza Strip, further declaring that "Israeli forces operated in several Arab and Muslim countries" in conjunction with its activity in the Palestinian enclave.
One Israeli soldier and seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas military commander, were killed in the incident. Details of the raid, including the full identity of the officer killed during the mission, remain subject to military censor.
The dramatic episode sparked a massive two-day bombardment in which nearly 500 rockets were fired by Gaza militants into Israel in the most severe flare-up in violence between Gaza and Israel since a 2014 war between the sides.
A November 13 ceasefire brokered by Egypt ended the fighting that had raised fears of another war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Hamas and its allies have fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.
Israel says the measure is necessary to isolate Hamas and prevent it from obtaining weapons, though critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the territory's two million residents.
(AFP contributed to this report.)
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Typo? You probably meant “enemy” instead of “nemesi”.