by WorldTribune Staff, May 16, 2021
Late on Friday evening, the Israel Defense Forces announced without evidence that a ground offensive was underway in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas operatives accustomed to taking shelter in civilian facilities took the bait and elite operatives scurried to its network of tunnels and into the direct path of of Israeli airstrikes, reports say.
The Israel Defense Spokesperson Unit sent a vague message: “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip. More details to follow.”
Reports of a potential Israeli ground offensive soon followed.
“Now, it turns out this was not a mistake, but deliberate and planned ruse aimed at taking out Hamas forces,” Channel 22 reported.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the message was not intended to mislead the media, but, “with or without the message, reported IDF ground activities, in the form of tank and artillery fire, led Hamas to believe that a ground offensive was about to begin, leading it to activate its elite Nukhba unit and sending its leaders and operatives into tunnels to prepare to take on Israeli ground forces,” Jewish News Syndicate reported.
Some 160 Israeli Air Force aircraft then dropped 450 bombs on the network of Gaza’s underground tunnels, the reports said, hitting many Hamas armed operatives.
Hamas for years has been using the network of tunnels to move operatives and weapons and for years the IDF’s Southern Command has been mapping out those tunnels.
“They built an underground city. These tunnels will be death traps in the next war,” a security source stated back in 2017, according to JNS.org.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials shared intelligence with the United States showing how Hamas terrorists operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza that was destroyed by Israel.
Officials in more than one government office confirmed that Joe Biden’s phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was, in part, about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and American officials the intelligence behind the action.
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post: “We share all the intelligence with our American friends. The intelligence we had is about an intelligence office for [Hamas] housed in that building that plots and organizes terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. It is a perfectly legit target.”
Netanyahu also said there were “no deaths whatsoever” from the strike on the building, because of measures Israel takes to avoid harming civilians, including giving advance warning.