Video: Israel Air Force footage of a Hamas mortar crew operating inside a Gaza school compound and a Hamas rocket salvo being fired at an Israeli city during the three hour humanitarian respite on 8 Jan 2009.
On Thursday (Jan. 8), the Intelligence Corps Officer-in-Chief, Brigadier General Yuval Halmish, revealed a sketch by Hamas that details on the deployment of explosives and Hamas forces in the Al-Attara neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. The map was found during Paratrooper Brigade forces operating in the northern Gaza Strip and was translated from Arabic during the operation. It describes, among other things, the location of explosive devices and firing positions in the middle of the civilian population in the dense neighborhood, which endanger the life of the civilians. “That’s what Hamas has been doing throughout the entirety of the operation – perversely using civilians as human shields,” says Brig. Gen. Halmish.
The map shows that snipers are positioned at the entrance of the A-Tawil mosque and in the mosques next to it and describes the directions the snipers are aiming. It indicates that explosives are planted in the entrances of civilian homes. Hamas operatives are divided into three fighting areas throughout the neighborhood, colored blue, red and green. Throughout these area IEDs, (improvised explosive devices), barrel explosives, explosives, explosives against humans and anti tank explosives are planted.
In addition to that, the map also shows an explosive device planted next to a gas station – the detonation of the device would significantly damage the surrounding area. “The important point is the disregard for human life in using entrances civilian homes,” explains Brig. Gen. Halmish. “They booby-trapped the entrances of civilian houses with explosives put close to them; the objective is of course to hit our forces but a local explosion also damages the houses of the civilians and causes great damage, and likely killing civilians.”
Brig. Gen. Halmish also adds that Hamas prevents the distribution of the IDF’s cautionary leaflets that ask the civilian population to leave their houses, saying, “Although IDF forces make every possible effort not to harm civilians and only target Hamas members and terror operatives, Hamas prevents these things.”
The forces also discovered a booby-trapped doll at the entrance of a building, which, upon detonation, pulls the surrounding people into an underground tunnel. This, in other words, is an attempt to hit or kidnap soldiers.
“This is done all the time,” explains Brig. Gen. Halmish. According to him these findings testify to Hamas’s military development, notably their network of underground tunnels that IDF forces constantly uncover. The results of the operation are good nevertheless, says Brig. Gen. Halmish. “There are a lot of casualties on the Hamas’s side, and great damage in their infrastructure. Because of Hamas, a number of uninvolved people were hit; for instance at the UNRWA school Hamas was firing rockets from – the terrorist organization keeps using the civilian population in the manner.”
IDF Website – 9 January 2009