Hamas Training Manual Instructs in War Crimes

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

The Israeli army has released a page from a seized Hamas training manual that supports its case that Palestinian terrorists deliberately use the cover of residential areas for combat operations.

The Israeli army said the training manual was found in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun at the end of July, when troops were operating inside the enclave. The full manual is 102 pages long, the army said, but it released just one page of it.

That page appears to set out guidelines on how to hide weapons and ammunition in civilian areas, how to transport them into buildings and how to conceal or camouflage explosives.

It is marked at the bottom with “Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Training and Guidance Branch, Engineering Corps,” the military wing of Hamas, although the page bears no Hamas logo.

“The process of hiding ammunition inside buildings is intended for ambushes in residential areas and to move the campaign from open areas into built up and closed areas,” reads the document, written in Arabic.

“Residents of the area should be used to bring in the equipment,” it continues, adding: “For jihad fighters, it is easy to operate inside buildings and take advantage of this to avoid (Israeli) spy planes and attack drones.”

The guidelines also explain that “the action of hiding weapons inside a building must be carried out secretly and shouldn’t have a military character.” Hamas claimed the document was a forgery.

An Israeli army spokesman would provide no further details about the document, only to say that the army was “extremely confident it is a Hamas training manual.”

Meanwhile, Hamas leaders said they had given their consent for the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that could open up both Israel and the Palestinians to war crime probes over the fighting in Gaza.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas leader based in Cairo, said he had signed a document Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says all factions must endorse before he proceeds with the ICC push.

If the Palestinians were to sign the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the court would have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

An investigation could then examine events as far back as mid-2002, when the ICC opened with a mandate to try individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.