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Hamas Combat Manual Exposes Use of Human Shields

During Operation Protective Edge the IDF recovered a combat manual describing how Hamas takes advantage of Israel’s care to avoid collateral damage and uses the population as human shields.

After explaining that “soldiers and commanders (of the IDF) must limit their use of weapons and tactics that lead to the harm and unnecessary loss of people … [t]he manual goes on to explain that the ‘presence of civilians are pockets of resistance’ that cause three major problems for advancing troops”

(1) Problems with opening fire
(2) Problems in controlling the civilian population during operations and afterward
(3) Assurance of supplying medical care to civilians who need it

The use of human shields to stymie Israeli advances is an explicit part of Hamas’ doctrine.

The manual also cited the “benefits” of the destruction of civilian structures, because “increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces[i.e. Hamas]).”

The manual was written for Hamas’ Shuja’iya Brigade. Shuja’iya is a residential neighborhood that housed rocket launchers, tunnels, combat posts and weapons caches and was the site of heavy fighting during Operation Protective Edge. The manual shows that Hamas’ uses  human shields in violation of international law.

During the recent conflict, Hamas has used hospitals to shield its fighters, it has fired from civilian areas, and it has sent civilians into the line of fire. In addition, a Hamas spokesman went on television to urge non-combatants into the homes of terrorists targeted by the IDF.

[Photo: IDF Blog]