Hamas routinely treats the civilian buildings of Gaza as its private terrorist compounds. It fires rockets at Israel from schools and hospitals, and uses mosques as command centers and to store weapons and hide infiltration tunnels.
Throughout Operation Protective Edge, IDF (Zahal) forces have discovered Hamas terrorists using mosques as terrorist facilities. Hamas exploits the IDF (Zahal)’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel entrances in mosques.
On July 29, IDF (Zahal) special forces engaged and eliminated an armed terror cell guarding a mosque being used as a Hamas military compound. When searching the basement of the mosque after the battle, the soldiers uncovered a stockpile of weapons including sniper rifles, RPGs and machine guns. They also found two concealed tunnel entrances, one of which ran 14 meters deep underground.
The following day, a joint IDF (Zahal) task force tracked down the entrance to a tunnel that had been used by Hamas terrorists to attack Israeli soldiers. The tunnel entrance was in the basement of a mosque. There, the IDF (Zahal) soldiers found the opening to another tunnel serving as a Hamas terrorist bunker.
Hamas’ conversion of Gaza’s holy places into military compounds is further proof that it will stop at nothing to achieve its terrorist aims.