(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A recently discovered Hamas urban warfare manual supports Israel's claim that Hamas uses Gaza civilians as human shields.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, the manual, which belonged to the Shujaiyya Brigade of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, explains how civilians can be used against the IDF and shows that Hamas is aware that the IDF seeks to minimize harm to civilians.
"Throughout Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has continuously used the civilian population of Gaza as human shields," the IDF said in a post on its official English-language blog. "The discovery of a Hamas 'urban warfare' manual by IDF forces reveals that Hamas' callous use of the Gazan population was intentional and preplanned."
One section of the manual, titled 'Limiting the Use of Weapons," explains, "The soldiers and commanders (of the IDF) must limit their use of weapons and tactics that lead to the harm and unnecessary loss of people and [destruction of] civilian facilities. It is difficult for them to get the most use out of their firearms, especially of supporting fire [e.g. artillery]."
The manual says that the "presence of civilians are pockets of resistance" that cause three key problems for IDF troops -- problems with opening fire, problems in controlling the civilian population during operations and afterward, and assurance of supplying medical care to civilians who need it.
Regarding the destruction of homes, the manual says, "This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces [i.e. Hamas])."