Israel's notifications to civilians in Gaza to leave populated locations before they are bombed are cynically used by Hamas for organizing human shields, a new study says.
The study by the Terror and Intelligence Information Center shows that when the IDF warns Arab civilians of an impending attack in their neighborhood, Hamas uses the information in order to organize the civilians into human shields in the hope of protecting the targets from the IDF's wrath.
Hamas's de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and other top terrorists, including Nizar Riyan, who was killed in the course of Operation Cast Lead, have publicly boasted of using the warnings as "intelligence" and then using civilians, including women and children, as human shields to protect the homes of terrorists.
The tactic is a "win-win" for Hamas: If the IDF cancels its planned attack on a terror target, the terrorists receive a respite. If the IDF attacks despite the human shields, it can then be portrayed as a killer of women and children. The tactic was inspired by the experience of Hizbullah is using such methods against Israel, the study determines.
Use of civilians as human shields and purposely firing at Israel from densely populated areas is a war crime, the researchers say. Yet terror units that specialize in launching rockets and mortars often carry out the launches next to or even from inside civilian residential buildings, schools and mosques.