Hamas carried maps of Israeli towns, military bases; posted video of mock attack | World News - Hindustan Times
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Hamas carried maps of Israeli towns, military bases; posted video of mock attack: Stunning details

Oct 13, 2023 04:44 PM IST

A two-minute propaganda video posted to social media by Hamas on September 12 shows fighters using explosives to blast through a replica of the border gate.

Hamas-Israel War Updates: Days after Palestine-based Hamas stormed into southern Israel from Gaza and killed more than 1,300 Israelis, documents recovered from the sites of attacks and bodies of militants, and videos appeared on social media showed how these fighters prepared themselves to to carry out the deadly attacks. The Wall Street Journal reported that the militants carried detailed maps of the towns and military bases that they targeted. Some also carried tactical guides identifying weak spots on Israeli army armoured vehicles.

One 14-page document labelled “top secret” in Arabic and dated June 15, 2023, describes a plan for infiltrating Mefalsim, a small collective community called a kibbutz, near Gaza and taking residents hostage.(File)
One 14-page document labelled “top secret” in Arabic and dated June 15, 2023, describes a plan for infiltrating Mefalsim, a small collective community called a kibbutz, near Gaza and taking residents hostage.(File)

News agency AP cited a two-minute propaganda video, posted on social media by Hamas on September 12, that shows militants using explosives to blast through a replica of the border gate, sweep in on pickup trucks and then move building by building through a full-scale reconstruction of an Israeli town, firing automatic weapons at human-silhouetted paper targets. Follow Live Updates on Israel-Hamas war

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The documents, written in Arabic, are being examined, WSJ reported citing Israeli officials.

Key points from documents and videos recovered from Hamas:

  • The documents indicate that Hamas set out from the start to target not just military installations, but to attack civilian population centres and to take hostages, and they offer evidence of the scale of Hamas’s intelligence-gathering and the degree of planning for the assault.
  • “They knew exactly what the targets were going to be,’” WSJ quoted Michael Milshtein, a former Israeli military intelligence officer and head of Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University, as saying. “There is nothing close to this level of planning in any steps Hamas had done in the past.”
  • One 14-page document labelled “top secret” in Arabic and dated June 15, 2023, describes a plan for infiltrating Mefalsim, a small collective community called a kibbutz, near Gaza and taking residents hostage.
  • Two teams of five and a commander would carry out the operation on “Hour S, Day Y,” it reads. Maps and aerial pictures of the town were contained in the document, which says there were 1,000 “civilians” guarded by a volunteer security force.
  • It warned that Israeli troops stationed nearby could arrive at Mefalsim “within 3-5 minutes.” Members of the assault team were designated to open holes in a security fence, while others were to provide “artillery” fire, the document says. Once inside the force would take prisoners and hold them as hostages “for negotiations,” the plan reads.
  • The Islamic militant group’s live-fire exercise dubbed operation “Strong Pillar” also had militants in body armour and combat fatigues carrying out operations that included the destruction of mock-ups of the wall’s concrete towers and a communications antenna, just as they would do for real in the deadly attack last Saturday, AP reported.
  • AP reviewed and verified key details from dozens of videos Hamas released over the last year, primarily through the social media app Telegram.
  • Using satellite imagery, the report claimed that it matched the location of the mocked-up town to a patch of desert outside Al-Mawasi, a Palestinian town on the southern coast of the Gaza Strip. A large sign in Hebrew and Arabic at the gate says “Horesh Yaron,” the name of a controversial Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
  • In a separate video posted to Telegram from last year's Strong Pillar exercise on December 28, Hamas fighters are shown storming what appears to be a mockup Israeli military base, complete with a full-size model of a tank with an Israeli flag flying from its turret. The gunmen move through the cinderblock buildings, seizing other men playing the roles of Israeli soldiers as hostages.
  • Michael Milshtein, a retired Israeli colonel who previously led the military intelligence department overseeing the Palestinian territories, told AP that he was aware of the Hamas videos, but he was still caught off guard by the ambition and scale of Saturday’s attack.

    (With inputs from agencies)

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