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13 Jan, 2019 05:09

Hamas sets $1mn bounty for IDs of Israeli commandos involved in botched Gaza raid

Hamas sets $1mn bounty for IDs of Israeli commandos involved in botched Gaza raid

Hamas is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can reveal the identities of Israeli commandos who took part in a failed operation in Gaza that sparked an intense cross-border fire fight between Palestinians and the IDF.

Following months of preparation for their mission, fifteen members of the Israeli Sayeret Matkal special forces unit used fake Gazan IDs and counterfeit humanitarian worker documents to infiltrate the strip on November 11, a spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said, in a televised statement on Saturday.

Despite all their efforts to sneak into the enclave undetected and using vehicles belonging to a local charity, Hamas managed to spot the special forces and attempted to pin the enemy down in a tense gunfire exchange, the spokesman claimed, broadcasting surveillance footage of the alleged Israeli team driving through Khan Younis.

As the IDF team retreated, Hamas recovered tools that the organization believes were meant to be used to plant communications spying devices on their network. Still images of drills and machine saws were presented as evidence of Hamas’ claims. The militant group is now offering a $1 million reward for information that would lead to the identification of the IDF commandos.

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Outgoing IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, acknowledged that “mistakes” were made during the operation. However, speaking to Channel 10 news on Saturday night, he commended the “heroic actions” of the IDF unit which he claimed not only managed to retreat almost safely – but also allegedly killed up to 20 Hamas members and wounded three times as many.

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Saturday’s statement by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’ second attempt to shed light on the details of the botched IDF mission. The organization had already published photos of eight individuals and two vehicles used in the operation.

The IDF, however, applied full censorship on the issue, reportedly appealing to news networks not to republish the images.

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The IDF mission in Khan Younis, in which a Hamas commander and an Israeli lieutenant colonel were killed, triggered the worst flare-up of violence since the 2014 Gaza war. The two-day escalation witnessed more than 400 Palestinian rockets launched against Israel, while the IDF retaliated by striking more than 150 targets in Gaza.

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