Hamas death notice 311.
(photo credit: Malam)
Ahead of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, the Hamas Interior Ministry formally incorporated a significant percentage of the police force into the Hamas military wing, according to IDF intelligence information revealed in a new report aimed at countering the Goldstone Report.
The new report was compiled by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam) and dedicates an entire chapter on the relationship between the Hamas Police and Izzadin Kassam, Hamas’s military wing. The report is aimed at disproving the Goldstone Report, which concluded that it could not confirm Israel’s claims that the police force had a dual role – enforcing law and order in Gaza and fighting against Israel alongside members of the military wing.
According to the Goldstone Report, 264 members of Hamas security forces were killed during the operation – 248 policemen, 11 members of the Internal Security Service and five members of the National Security Force.
Israel came under harsh international criticism for striking police targets during Operation Cast Lead. In the opening salvo against Hamas on December 27, 2008, Israel bombed a police base as policemen were lined up at a graduation ceremony scheduled for that Saturday morning.
“The mission could not verify the allegations of membership of armed groups of policemen,” Judge Richard Goldstone wrote in his report. “In half the cases, moreover, the allegations appear to be based merely on an equation of membership in Hamas (in itself alleged on the basis of unverifiable information) with membership in Izzadin Kassam, which in the view of the mission is not justified.”
According to the Malam report, in the year prior to Cast Lead, the Hamas Police participated in anti-Israel attacks, collected intelligence on IDF patrols along the Gaza border and provided logistical support for Hamas’s military wing.
“Intelligence information obtained by Israel shows a clear and formal level of cooperation between Hamas police and internal security forces and the military wing,” the Malam report said.
The report brought close to a dozen examples of how policemen participated in anti-Israel terror attacks and therefore were legitimate targets. In February 2008, policemen participated in a gunfight with Israeli soldiers, and in April one of the members of a Hamas terror cell that attacked the Kerem Shalom Crossing was a senior police investigator in Deir el-Balah.
A clear example of the police’s dual identity was on February 5, 2008, when the IAF bombed a police base in Khan Yunis, killing seven so-called policemen, who were all identified on Hamas Web sites as members of Izzadin Kassam.
The two forces also regularly trained together. In October 2008, for example, the police participated in an extensive military exercise in El-Bureij.
During Operation Cast Lead, IDF troops uncovered a video in which Hamas terrorists from Izzadin Kassam are seen driving around Gaza in police cars. In addition, according to Israeli intelligence, members of the Hamas Internal Security Service underwent military training in Iran and Syria.
The Malam report also revealed testimonies from Palestinian prisoners, captured during the operation, who revealed the identities of several policemen who also served in Izzadin Kassam.
During the operation, the Interior Ministry in
Gaza decided to incorporate the police into Hamas’s military wing, resulting in a new chain-of-command which put the police directly under terrorist orders.
After Cast Lead, on December 20, 2009, Izzadin Kassam held a large military exercise in northern Gaza which simulated a war with Israel. According to the Malam report, the Hamas Police Force played a “central role” in the exercise.
The Malam report brings a number of examples of so-called policemen who after their death were revealed as members of Izzadin Kassam in official Hamas death notices.
One example was of Adal Abu On, who was the commander of a sniper squad
in the northern Gaza Strip. He also served as an officer in the
Palestinian Police. In a death notice, posted on a Hamas Web site, he
is seen in civilian clothing pointing a Kalashnikov rifle with the
Izzadin Kassam symbol in the background.
Another example was of
Fathi al-Karad. Two death notices were published – one of him in his
police uniform by the Interior Ministry, where he is described as a
senior police officer, and the other of him in his police uniform but
where he is described as the “Commander of the Kassam rocket,” due to
his role as a Kassam cell commander.