Yesterday three more IDF soldiers were killed when a booby-trapped house exploded in Gaza. Later investigation reveals that it is possible that the building was not an UNRWA clinic but was disguised as one:
Three IDF soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in Gaza in an explosion at a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed a tunnel entry shaft, the IDF’s Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, said in a briefing.
After describing certain precautionary measures, Edelstein said, “And then we enter with our people, and they [the
militantsterrorists], from the very same terror tunnel, they blow up half the clinic on our troops.”
“They blow [up] the UNRWA clinic on our troops.”
UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the military unit that implements government policies in the Palestinian areas, later said that the clinic in Abu Daka, outside Khan Younis, was last registered as a sensitive location three years ago, “and it hasn’t been since.”
The spokesperson said the site had not been registered then as belonging to UNRWA, leading to speculation that, perhaps,
militantsterrorists [there, fixed that -Ed.] stole the sign and tacked it on the door, posting it as a security umbrella under which a tunnel could be dug.
The army named the fallen soldiers as Staff Sgt. Matan Gotlib, 21, of Rishon Lezion, Staff Sgt. Omer Chai, 21, of Savion, and Sgt. Guy Algranati, 20, of Tel Aviv.
Here is where we see that the IDF’s caution in protecting enemy installations is actually endangering the soldiers’ own lives. In my humble opinion that is as immoral as shooting at civilians:
The three soldiers, members of the elite Maglan unit, were taking precautionary measures in efforts to limit damage to the structure before eliminating the tunnel, when the explosives detonated in the small building.
The soldiers had sent in sniffing dogs and a small tractor to minimize damage to the structure, but explosives rigged to the building detonated, toppling a section of the building on the soldiers.
Fifteen soldiers were injured. IDF soldiers evacuating the wounded came under fire from Palestinian fighters. All of the fatalities and injured were eventually brought back to Israeli territory.
The deaths brought the toll of IDF soldiers killed since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge to 56.
With mention of the number of IDF casualties it is also sad to note that 5 IDF dogs have also been killed in Gaza:
Five dogs of the IDF’s Oketz canine unit have been killed in the Gaza Strip during the course of Operation Protective Edge, Ynet News reports.
The dogs were involved in various operations, including uncovering explosives in booby-trapped buildings.
Returning to the original article:
Edelstein used the alleged clinic as an illustration of the difficulty inherent in fighting an enemy willing to exploit both civilians and non-governmental organizations.
“Once you enter such a clinic and you see the UNRWA sign on it and you know there is a terror tunnel there, you know it’s a very very sensitive building, and you’re thinking of the not-terrorist Palestinians living there all around, and you’re trying not to harm this place,” Edelstein said.
He said Hamas
militantsterrorists have used more than a thousand IEDs so far, destroying thousands of buildings in the Gaza Strip.
As an example he noted that in sweeps of a single street of 28 buildings Tuesday night, 19 were found to be booby-trapped.
In addition to the booby trapped clinic, disguised or not, rockets were found for the third time in an UNRWA school, (and I suppose they’ll claim once again that they are “shocked! shocked!”):
A UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that a stockpile of Hamas rockets was found in one of UNRWA’s Gaza schools — for the third time since the onset of Operation Protective Edge.
The incident, however, was not publicized by UNRWA on its website or official Twitter feed, or that of its spokesperson.
In its press release, UNRWA’s spokesperson said that the discovery was made during a routine inspection of the school, “which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter.”
“All the relevant parties have been notified,” UNRWA said, without elaborating which parties. Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, has launched over 2,000 of rockets at Israel in the past month.
“We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” said UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property.”
Tuesday’s incident was the third instance in which Palestinian armaments were found in UN facilities in the Gaza Strip. On July 22, the UN agency found rockets stockpiled in another school which “is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”
A week before that, UNRWA found some 20 rockets in a school under its auspices, also during a standard inspection. A spokesperson for UNRWA said the organization gave the rockets to “local authorities,” which answer to the Hamas-backed unity government led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “According to longstanding UN practice in UN humanitarian operations worldwide, incidents involving unexploded ordnance that could endanger beneficiaries and staff are referred to the local authorities,” Gunness told The Times of Israel.
In Jerusalem, officials charged that the weaponry was returned to Hamas. “The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas.
In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.
The truth is that none of this is surprising any more. UNRWA’s pernicious role in perpetuating the Palestinian “refugee” narrative is well-documented. See for example this post by Brian Goldfarb.
Hamas’ cynical use of civilian infrastructure is not limited to NGO’s and aid organizations. Here for example is a video of what IDF soldiers found just yesterday in a Gaza mosque. (Hint: not just prayer books but tunnel openings and weapons):
I’m sure the world outrage at Hamas will pour forth in 3..2..1.. /crickets…
Watch this video of Hamas shooting rockets from a school, and keep this in mind next time Israel is condemned for “indiscriminately targeting a school” as has happened a few times in the last few days:
Even the dead are not allowed to rest in peace (in pieces maybe) as Hamas also launched rockets from a cemetery:
The only mystery to me is why the IDF would at this point consider any UNRWA installation to be innocent. They should all be treated enemy installations a priori, unless proven otherwise.
Yesterday the IDF was accused once again of shelling a UN school in which 19 civilians were killed. The IDF announced that it was simply returning fire which emanated from the school. Why anyone should be surprised at such an occurrence by now is incomprehensible to me, given Hamas’ documented history, and the IDF’s huge efforts at avoiding civilian casusalties:
The Israeli military says it fired back after soldiers were targeted by mortar rounds launched from the vicinity of the school.
In the incident last week in which Israel was wrongly accused of shelling the Bet Hanoun school, here’s what an Italian reporter tweeted:
But will this be enough to destroy the myth of “murderous Israel bombs schools”? I doubt it. The fabricated “truth” has flown around the world before the real truth has had a chance to get out of bed.
Interestingly, the US, which has been coldly neutral-to-hostile to Israel recently, while requesting an investigation, did not outright condemn Israel for the school shelling, preferring to wait for the facts to emerge (something which ought to be a given, but isn’t in today’s topsy-turvy world):
The White House expects a “a full, prompt and thorough investigation” into Wednesday’s shelling of a United Nations-run girls’ school in Gaza, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters during an impromptu press conference aboard Air Force One. Schultz’s statement underscored similar calls from the State Department, but unlike the UN, administration officials refused to ascribe blame to Israel for the incident that Gazan sources said left some 20 people dead.
Schultz seemed to dismiss statements from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately pinning responsibility for the attack on Israel, which Ban accused of ignoring repeated communications on the location of the school.
The White House spokesperson said that he “understands” that “the UN has put out a statement on its views, but from our vantage point, we just want to underscore the importance of a full, prompt and thorough investigation.”
Instead, Schultz ducked calls to blame Israel for the incident while offering an ambiguous concern over “actions [that] violate the international understanding of the UN’s neutrality.”
“We are extremely concerned that the thousands of internally displaced Palestinians, who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes, are not safe in these UN-designated shelters in Gaza,” Schultz told reporters. “We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in the United Nations facilities in Gaza. All of these actions violate the international understanding of the UN’s neutrality.”
Earlier Wednesday, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf ducked questions as to Israel’s culpability in the shelling.
“We don’t know for certain who shelled the school,” said Harf, explaining why she refused to explicitly blame Israel for the incident.
Harf said that Washington did not know if there were rockets stored in the school, but said that rather on relying on conclusions drawn by the UN, the US government would “attempt to get its own facts” regarding the incident. Rockets have been found hidden in UN schools in two separate incidents since the IDF began its ground operations in the Gaza Strip.
Last night, the Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the US Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a public statement before today’s cabinet meeting, once again stressed that no ceasefire will be acceptable without the IDF being allowed to remain to deal with the terror tunnels.
He says Israel will not accept any ceasefire proposal that prevents the IDF from completing the task of demolishing the tunnels, and reiterates that this is only the first step in the full disarmament of the Gaza Strip. He says the US, Europe and others now recognize that imperative.
He says Hamas is suffering harsh blows: “thousands of terror targets” have been attacked — “terror command centers, rocket stores, weapons workshops, launchers, and hundreds of slain terrorists.”
Netanyahu extends condolences to the fallen soldiers’ families — he says he has spoken to the dozens of families by phone — and praises the public for its resilience.
He says there is a minority of the Israeli public that grows increasingly radical at this time — on both extremes of the political spectrum — in a reference to the hostile online and in-person clashes between left-wing and right-wing activists. “Be careful what you say; be careful what you do,” he urges.
He says the ministers must serve as a personal example to the public, and that national unity is vital.
As he speaks, sirens sound in the Gaza border towns, including Sderot.
Yesterday Hamas released a graphic video of the tunnel infiltration into Nahal Oz in which 5 soldiers were killed Echoing the Prime Minister’s words, an IDF spokesman said:
“These are the people we’re dealing with on a daily basis – cowardly terrorists who don’t care about human lives. They’re on an ongoing mission to kill and maim, and to abduct Israeli soldiers and civilians,” Maj. Arye Shalicar, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told The Times of Israel. “We have to be prepared for this to recur again and again around the Gaza Strip. Until we find and destroy each and every tunnel they have dug over the last few years, such attacks can happen anytime, anywhere.”
Let us not forget the rockets that are almost as great a threat to Israel, despite the spectacular success of the Iron Dome. As of yesterday, Hamas has fired over 2,760 rockets at Israel. The number is almost too hard to grasp, and it keeps rising as the rocket fire continues.
And if Iran gets its way, G-d forbid, its plan to send rockets to the West Bank could ignite an even greater regional conflagration. Again, keep this information in mind next time Israel is demanded to give up the West Bank to its implacable enemies.
May Hashem watch over and protect our soldiers and all the citizens of Israel.
הנה לא ינום ולא ישן שומר ישראל