Report: 'Hamas Used Kids as Human Shields'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - A 500-page report to be released on Monday proves that Hamas used children as human shields during the Israel's military incursion into the Gaza Strip last year.

The report also proves that Hamas set up weapons storage, command centers and rocket-launching pads inside or adjacent to civilian homes, hospitals, and more than 100 mosques.

To produce the report, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Shin Bet (General Security Agency) released classified photographs, videos, and sketches drawn by Hamas operatives, as well as transcripts of interrogations.

Malam, the Intelligence and Terrorism Center, used the declassified material to produce the 500-page report, which counters accusations of war crimes by the U.N.-sponsored Goldstone Report.

The IDF launched its three-week operation in December 2008 and January 2009 to end daily rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel that began in 2001.

Under the leadership of Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, Malam began working on the project just after the Goldstone Report was released last September.

"The Goldstone Report is one-sided, biased, selective and deceptive, since it simply accepts Hamas claims at face value and presents everything through Hamas's eyes," Erlich told Jerusalem Post correspondent Yaakov Katz.

Erlich cited two Hamas sketches of northern Gaza neighborhoods, Beit Lahiya and Atatra, which show the locations of explosive devices and sniper positions next to civilian residences.

"By placing all of their weaponry next to homes, by operating out of homes, mosques and hospitals, by firing rockets next to schools and by using human shields, Hamas is the one responsible for the civilian deaths during the operation," Erlich said.

Declassified videos show Hamas gunmen using civilians, including children, as human shields and setting up command centers and weapons storage in people's homes.

By contrast, retired South African judge Richard Goldstone wrote that his team "found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack."

The detailed report provides a broad compilation of evidence that exposes the terror group's tactics, such as dressing most of their operatives in civilian clothing and disguising some of them as women.

The report devotes one whole section to the terror group's use of mosques.

"Hamas systematically used mosques as part of its combat doctrine," the report states, countering the Goldstone Report's alleged inability to substantiate that fact. 

The IDF has been working on a report of its own, slated to be released soon, which focuses on its operations during last year's war with Hamas.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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