Israeli special forces posing as medical aid workers used “detailed but fake” ID cards of real Gaza citizens and may have entered through an official crossing in an intelligence raid last month, Hamas officials told The Independent (Firefight after Israeli special forces’ cover was blown ‘nearly triggered new Gaza war’).
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, told the UK paper the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades had detained and questioned all the local Arabs whose ID cards were left around the wreckage of the vehicle used by the IDF special force—a Volkswagen minibus with a wheelchair in the back—a mile and a half beyond the border fence in Khan Younis. Qassem said the cards were very good forgeries and included correct full names, ID numbers and other details.
At least eight people, including an Israeli lieutenant-colonel and a local Hamas brigade commander, were killed on November 11, when Hamas confronted the IDF special forces team. Israeli warplanes and helicopters launched air strikes on the area and successfully evacuated the soldiers.
Qassem said the Israeli force “were posing as NGO workers, there were women in the car as well. They used this to justify why they were stealing into Gaza and had a story prepared should they be questioned.”
Another Hamas official claimed: “They told the fighters at the checkpoint that they were delivering patients back from clinics to their homes and had a wheelchair in the back of the van. They presented their ID cars but the [soldiers] manning the checkpoint were suspicious as their accents and voices did not match the areas where they said they were from.”
A different Hamas official told The Independent the Israeli force was in Gaza to replace surveillance devices.
Hamas has tightened security since the clash, according to The Independent, which reported additional checkpoints throughout the Gaza Strip, and tougher questioning at the border crossings.
Hamas and other terror groups are not yet convinced the raid was the last aggressive move on the part of the IDF. “If the Israelis launch a new attack, the Palestinian [fighters] are ready to deal with this attack,” Walid al-Qottati, a member of Islamic Jihad’s political wing, told The Independent. “But we do not want a war, as it will only bring suffering to the people,” he added.
Because that’s the primary concern of the Gaza terror groups: avoiding civilian suffering.
One Hamas official told The Independent: “We are not lowering our guard yet. We do think the Israelis might do a sudden strike but for the moment, for now, at least things are moving the right direction.”
Whatever that means.