Picture published by Hamas of alleged members of Israeli forces operating in Gaza.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In a highly irregular public statement, the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit and the Military Censor asked the public on Thursday to refrain from posting pictures or information on last week’s botched intelligence gathering operation east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, lest they be of service to Hamas.
“Hamas is currently trying to decipher and understand the incident that took place deep inside Gaza (11/11) and any piece of information, even if it is considered harmless by those publishing it, is liable to endanger human lives and harm state security,” the IDF said.
Asking the public to “act responsibly,” the military urged that images or personal information that may have been shared on WhatsApp groups or other media platform not be redistributed.
The IDF mission last Sunday night led to the death of the commando team’s leader Lt.-Col. M. and seven Hamas terrorists, including Nur Barakeh, the local commander of the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.
According to Hamas, the commandos were attempting to plant listening devices but were exposed when Barakeh noticed a “suspicious” Volkswagen parked outside his window.
Barakeh was said to have then questioned the passengers of the vehicle, including two IDF officers dressed in women’s clothing. When he was dissatisfied with their answers, weapons were drawn and a firefight broke out.
The IDF force was extracted by the Israel Air Force’s elite 669 Unit.
Another IDF officer who was seriously wounded in the firefight was released from Beersheba’s Soroka University Medical Center last Friday, and will begin rehabilitation shortly.
While the IDF has not commented in depth regarding the commando raid, the military explained that the purpose of the mission was not to kill or kidnap, and that the troops were exposed while they “carried out a lengthy operation.”
“The soldiers acted heroically, hit those who threatened them and extracted themselves to Israeli territory,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said, adding that Lt.-Col. M’s “heroic actions will not be published in the media but he deserves our salute. His actions led to Israel having superiority over its enemies.”
Following the raid, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired close to 400 mortars and rockets into Israel, killing one man and injuring close to 100 others.
In response, the Israeli military said it targeted some 160 sites in the Gaza Strip belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including four facilities that the army designated were strategic assets.
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