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Israeli intel: Hamas using police for military ops

TEL AVIV — The Hamas regime is using police officers for military operations, according to an intelligence report.   

Israel's intelligence community has determined that Hamas's military wing was recruiting police officers for operations. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said Hamas police forces were drafted to fight Israel during the war in January 2009 in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas' internal security apparatus, which includes the police force and the elite rapid intervention unit, serves as Hamas' main instrument for suppressing its opponents in the Gaza Strip," the center said in a report on Sept. 1.

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"Many of its operatives serve as policemen but routinely and in emergency situations also in the Izzedin Al Kassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing. They are integrated into the brigades' defensive and offensive missions at the expense of internal security."

The report cited announcements by Izzedin Kassam of its members killed during police missions. One police officer, Ayman Abu Sibleh, killed on Aug. 14 during a battle with the Al Qaida-aligned Jund Ansar Allah, was also identified as a member of Hamas's military wing.

Another police officer recruited by Hamas's military for the attack on Jund was Tariq Abu Jizer. Abu Jizer was killed during a mission on Aug. 27 in Khan Yunis. Again, Izzedin Kassam announced Abu Jizer's death, attributing it to a jihad mission.

"According to the announcement, he died during 'an honorable jihad mission' fulfilling his 'national commitment' as part of the rapid intervention and public order force of the Palestinian police," the report said.

The report cited Hamas claims that the Israel Air Force attacked police officers during the war in December 2008. Human rights organizations had deemed the casualties those of innocent policemen.

"The claim, which had no basis in fact, was that the internal security system was completely civilian and provided services to civilians, and was not part of the military-operational system, as was the Izzedin Kassam Brigades," the report said.

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