IDF Spokesman Says Hamas Tactics Caused Deaths in Hostage Rescue

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The Israel Defense Forces attributed Palestinian civilian casualties during a hostage rescue mission to Hamas’s tactics.

Israel conducted a notable hostage rescue operation in Gaza, which IDF Chief Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari likened to the 1976 Entebbe raid in Uganda.

However, unlike the Entebbe operation, the raid on the Nuseirat camp resulted in numerous civilian casualties. The Gaza Health Ministry, controlled by Hamas, reported 274 Palestinian deaths, many of whom were civilians, while Israeli sources cited fewer than 100 casualties. One Israeli officer was killed, and four hostages were freed.

Palestinians examine the aftermath of an Israeli bombing in Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

When questioned about the significant Palestinian casualties, IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner questioned the high casualty figures and blamed Hamas for the deaths.

“Martha, every civilian life lost in this war is a tragedy. Every civilian life lost in this war is a result of how Hamas has operated,” he told ABC News’s This Week.

“Consider where they were holding the hostages — inside civilian homes and apartments, alongside the families living there. This is a clear example of Hamas’s tactics,” he continued.

When further pressed, Lerner defended the necessity of airstrikes on surrounding buildings, which resulted in numerous fatalities.

“The forces faced threats from all directions — RPGs, AK-47s, explosive devices, and mortar rounds. It was a war zone. The tragic involvement of civilians is a direct consequence of Hamas’s combat methods,” he stated.

When asked about future operations, Lerner did not dismiss the possibility.

The operation was planned over several weeks with U.S. intelligence support, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with CBS News. Hagari mentioned that Israeli commandos practiced on two replica apartments where the hostages were held.

The operation’s timing during daylight was intended to surprise the captors, but it also meant the streets were crowded with civilians shopping at a nearby market. Nidal Abdo, a local resident, estimated to CNN that 150 rockets landed in 10 minutes, causing widespread destruction.

Videos on social media depicted numerous civilian casualties and extensive damage to buildings.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan described the civilian casualties as “tragic” but also held Hamas responsible.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the operation as a “gruesome massacre.”

Brady Knox
Brady Knox
Brady Knox is a breaking news reporter with a particular focus on Russia, Eastern Europe, and foreign affairs. Hailing from Pittsburgh, he graduated from Miami University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies and political science.

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