During Operation Protective Edge, IDF soldiers captured a Hamas manual that recommends storing explosives in Gaza’s civilian homes and calls for bringing the battle into populated areas.
The IDF has captured a military manual published by the Engineering Corps of Hamas’ military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades.
The explosives manual recommends teaching civilians how to build and store bombs in their homes. According to the manual, the goal is “to transfer combat from open areas to built-up urban areas, which serves the ‘resistance’ [i.e. Hamas] and fighters of Islamic Jihad.”
The manual also states that “it is easier for Jihad fighters to operate inside buildings and to take advantage of this in order to evade reconnaissance planes used to attack and gather intelligence. Additionally, [operating from populated areas] helps strengthen the element of surprise.”
“You Must Use Residents”
In an especially incriminating section entitled “Factors for Successfully Hiding Weapons in Homes,” the manual explains how civilians can be used to hide explosives:
“(1) The activity of hiding weapons in homes needs to be done with secrecy and should not have a military character.
(2) Placing equipment in residential areas needs to be done with household items.
(3) You must use residents of the area in order place the equipment inside.”
Explosives in a Gazan home placed next to a child’s bed.
After explaining the advantages of using civilian areas, the manual provides advice for bomb makers in a portion entitled “Hiding and Camouflage of Explosives,” which opens by saying that “the goal is to blend in with the environment, whether in natural areas or in civilian surroundings.”
The manual suggests two techniques for camouflage:
“(1) It’s important to use camouflage material that won’t cause a failure in the explosion, such as adding sand, cement or asphalt to the body of the explosive.
(2) If one must use materials like sand or cement, he should create a 60 cm buffer using foam or sponge material.”
The Manual’s significance
This manual, like the captured Hamas Urban Warfare Manual, exposes Hamas’ illegal and murderous policy of using civilians during battle. Videos and photos of booby-trapped homes, which the IDF published during Operation Protective Edge, serves as further evidence of these tactics.
Hamas’ use of its civilians is a serious war crime, and the terrorist organization is responsible for the harm caused to Gaza’s residents.