Hamas: Israeli Force Sought to Install Surveillance Equipment in Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the building of Hamas’s Al-Aqsa station in Gaza City, Nov. 12. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Although the investigations by both Israel and Hamas into the Nov. 11 incident, in which a top IDF officer was killed in an operation in Gaza, are ongoing, a Lebanese report on Wednesday quoted Hamas sources as saying that the terror group’s investigation was nearly complete – and that it had determined that the purpose of the Israeli mission to Gaza was to set up devices that would enable Israel to eavesdrop on Hamas communications, including transmitters, cameras and microphones.

The report in the Al-Akhbar newspaper said that the Israeli operatives infiltrated Gaza over a period of several weeks, entering Gaza individually in order not to arouse suspicions. Once in Gaza, they rendezvoused at a house that had been rented by a front group, which acted as the headquarters for the operation. The equipment to be set up was imported via the Kerem Shalom crossing, allowed through by Israeli officials and apparently unnoticed by the Hamas forces on the Gaza side of the border.

While in Gaza, the group undertook several humanitarian activities, making it appear that they were part of an international aid group. The group had two vehicles at its disposal, and at one point attempted to arrest a high-ranking Hamas terrorist. That is when the group was exposed and a gun battle ensued, with the Israeli group making a run for the border. The Israeli forces made it back, but in the battle, M., a senior Israeli officer, was killed, while a second officer was injured.

The report said that Hamas had uncovered the Israeli hideout and discovered the vehicles with the help of Gaza residents, who pointed the terror group to sites where they had notice unusual activity. “We thank our people for their information,” the report quoted a senior Hamas terrorist as saying. “We continue to rely on such information to investigate this failed operation.” Israeli officials had no comment on the Lebanese report.

Israel, meanwhile, is investigating the incident to learn where it went wrong, and how things could be improved in the future. A report is expected to be presented to top IDF officials in the coming weeks.