Hamas sent a large group of women and children to act as human shields against Israel Defense Forces troops who were attacking a key compound of the terror group in the Gaza Strip, according to soldiers.
Two IDF soldiers were killed in the Tuesday assault on Hamas’s Central Jabaliya Battalion compound, located in the Jabaliya refugee camp inside Gaza. Israel is battling to destroy Hamas and end its rule over the Strip after the group’s devastating terror attack earlier this month that killed over 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians.
According to a report Thursday by the Ynet news site, Hamas sent a group of 100 women and children to act as human shields to protect the compound.
“We are prepared for more incidents of such cynical and blatant use of the population,” said an unnamed IDF officer who apparently witnessed the incident.
The report did not say how troops dealt with the situation, but the compound was captured by the IDF.
The army said the large amount of intelligence material seized from the base is already aiding in other Gaza battles, according to the report.
An initial investigation found that IDF Sgt. Roei Wolf and Staff Sgt. Lavi Lipshitz, both 20, were killed as forces were withdrawing from the compound. Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile that hit a wall of the building, killing the soldiers and injuring others. The remaining soldiers returned fire while an evacuation operation was carried out.
Around 50 Hamas fighters were killed during ground operations on Tuesday, according to the IDF.
Israel has repeatedly said Hamas is using civilians as human shields, including by locating operations bases under hospitals. Captured Hamas terrorists have confirmed the claims, explaining that Hamas knows Israel will not bomb a medical center.
US President Joe Biden has also said that Hamas is using civilians as human shields.
The war was sparked on October 7, when some 3,000 terrorists led by Hamas burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing over 1,400 people under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.
The vast majority of those killed as terrorists seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists. In addition, more than 240 people of all ages were abducted and taken back to Gaza as captives.
Israel says its offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s military infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.
The military has also said it is taking care not to bomb areas where hostages are believed to be held, Ynet reported.
In the weeks since the massacre, Hamas and other terror groups have continued to rain rockets on Israel, including from Lebanon in the north, causing further deaths and injuries. Over 200,000 Israelis have been displaced due to the rocket fire and over a million have frequently been forced into bomb shelters for safety.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry, more than 8,700 Palestinians have been killed in the war, and more than 22,000 people have been wounded. The figure, which cannot be confirmed, would be without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Hamas has been accused of artificially inflating the death toll, and does not distinguish between civilians and terror operatives. Some of the dead are believed to be victims of Palestinian terrorists’ own misfired rockets.