Daily Israel Report

Hamas Terrorists Use Hospitals as Base, Rebuild Tunnels

Hamas is rebuilding bombed smuggling tunnels, and its terrorists are using hospitals as command posts, Israel's security chief told the Cabinet.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/31/2008, 1:09 PM

Flash 90

Hamas is rebuilding bombed smuggling tunnels, and its terrorists are using hospitals as command posts, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin told the Security Cabinet Wednesday morning. One objective is to transfer Hamas officials and senior terrorists to Egypt through the tunnels.

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and other top military officials attended the meeting to consider a French request for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the French proposal is "unrealistic." He explained, "That proposal contained no guarantees of any kind that Hamas will stop the rockets and smuggling. It is not realistic to expect Israel to cease fire unilaterally with no mechanism to enforce the cessation of shooting and terror from Hamas."

Diskin told the Cabinet that although Hamas has been dealt an extremely heavy blow by Israeli aerial bombings of terrorist targets, it is exploiting the deterioration in Gaza to attack Israel.

"A number of Hamas operatives hide in hospitals, several of them walking around in doctors' and nurses' uniforms," he revealed.

Hamas also has turned dozens of Muslim mosques into command posts as its terrorists widen their attacks to reach the heavily populations of Be'er Sheva, as well as come closer to Tel Aviv.

Air Force officers reported that flight crews saw terrorist cells launching rockets from within heavily populated cities, including Khan Yunis, Rafiah and Gaza City as well.