A range of outlets and analysts are working to unpack newly revealed evidence – first released by the Israeli military during a Wednesday briefing held at its Tel Aviv headquarters – documenting Israeli and Hamas tactics during the recent 50-day hot conflict fought in the Gaza Strip.
Reuters led its coverage of the army’s extensive slide show by focusing on “photographs indicating that militants stored and fired rockets from schools,” a deployment of civilian infrastructure that had already engulfed UNRWA, the United Nations organization responsible for those schools. The wire also described “photographs showing how rocket launchers were hidden in graveyards and a school playground,” including one set that showed “a [school] canopy, where a hole had been torn for a rocket launching, was further frayed after a projectile was fired from underneath.”
The Daily Mail more broadly described Israeli intelligence about the force structure of Gaza terror groups:
The country’s military presented a series of damning photos, as well as a breakdown of the toll inflicted on the militant group, during a briefing at its headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The images showed how rocket launchers were hidden in graveyards and a school playground, while tunnels were used by militants to carry out and escape from the sites of attacks.
Officers also claimed Hamas had 16,000 operatives placed across region during the 50-day war, while the terror group Islamic Jihad had a further 6,000.
Hamas’s use of human shields over the course of several previous conflicts had long ago driven innovations in Israeli battlefield techniques. Previous engagements had already seen the Israelis deploying unique technology, enabling unprecedented battlefield awareness, allowing them to warn individual Gazans of impending attacks and minimize civilian casualties.
The Washington Post conveyed current Israeli assessments, also revealed at the Wednesday press briefing, evaluating that at least 616 of the estimated 2,127 Palestinian casualties are known with “100 percent certainty” to have been combatants. A senior defense official emphasized that Jerusalem eventually expects to confirm that there was a “one to one” civilian-to-combatant ratio. If that estimate holds it will be taken as confirmation of nearly unparalleled Israeli precision targeting.
Col. (res.) Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified in front of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that the global average in similar conflicts is closer to a 4-to-1 civilian-to-combatant ratio:
Kemp pointed out that, during the operation, there was approximately one civilian casualty for ever terrorist killed by the IDF, whereas the average in the world is four civilians for every combatant, and that, when taking into consideration Hamas’s use of human shields, this shows how careful the IDF is.
“No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF in order to minimize damage. The US and the UK are careful, but not as much as Israel,” he told the committee.
[Photo: רשות השידור / YouTube]