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Reports: Hamas Sending Civilians to Targeted Locations as Human Shields

The New York Times reported yesterday on Israel’s policy of warning residents of targeted buildings to leave for their own safety.

A Gaza resident, Salah Kaware, told his story.

A further warning came as they were leaving, he said in a telephone interview, when an Israeli drone apparently fired a flare at the roof of the three-story home. “Our neighbors came in to form a human shield,” he said, with some even going to the roof to try to prevent a bombing. Others were in the stairway when the house was bombed not long afterward.
Seven people died, Mr. Kaware said, a figure also stated by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, which also said that 25 people were wounded. The Israeli military said that targeted houses belonged to Hamas members involved in launching rockets or other military activity, and that they had been used as operations rooms.

Similarly The Washington Post reported, “a crowd of young men ran into the house and up to the roof, thinking they would either protect the house from another strike or die defying the Israeli bombardment.”

After reporting that a man who survived the strike claimed that there were no members of the “resistance” in the building, the Post continued:

But neighbors suggested that one of the occupants was a member of the military wing of Hamas. Soon after the house was hit, a man pulled a sidearm out of his waistband and scurried into the gutted building, saying he had been sent to retrieve a laptop computer from the debris.

The report of the armed man entering a damaged building having “been sent to retrieve a laptop computer from the debris,” confirms the neighbors’ impression that the building harbored a member of Hamas.

The relevant international law, cited by blogger “Elder of Ziyon,” states that “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

According to these news reports, Hamas hid behind human shields in an attempt to protect itself from the IDF.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]