Mission Brief: Dispatch #5
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I want to share two recently declassified intelligence items.
But first, some sorely needed context:
On October 7th, Hamas attacked Israel, brutally massacring men, women and children. In response, the IDF began to operate in Gaza, while preventing the transfer of fuel into Gaza so that it would not be appropriated by the Hamas.
This wasn’t a vague, unfounded concern. Hamas has a strong track record of doing just that (for those of you keeping track, the UN themselves recently called out Hamas on this).
Very quickly, reports emerged that Gaza “only has 24 hours of fuel left”.
Here’s one article from October 17th.
And here’s another from over a week later.
And yet, the lights stay on in Hamas’ tunnels.
This is not a miracle.
Hamas had fuel when it started its attacks on Israel and it continues to have fuel today.
It is also deliberately manufacturing this crisis by withholding fuel from Gazan citizens and using it to power their tunnels beneath hospitals, schools, and mosques, prioritizing their own leadership over their people.
But the truth is even worse.
Hamas isn’t just hoarding fuel. They’re actively confiscating it. From hospitals.
And that takes us to an intercepted phone call that the Israeli military intelligence declassified yesterday, which took place between a commander of Hamas’s Western Jabaliya Battalion and a the director of the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza.
The recording and translation are available here.
In the conversation, the Hamas commander repeatedly alludes to Hamas taking fuel from the hospital’s stocks, “for the sake of the country” and the hospital administrator talks about refueling Hamas at night.
It’s clear from this article that Hamas is continuing to exploit humanitarian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip to support its terrorist activities at the expense of the residents of Gaza. Because attacking Israel was never about helping Gazans (18,500 of whom were working in Israel on a daily basis, coming through the very crossings Hamas attacked). It was about killing more Israelis.
Video: Nukhba Terrorist Confession
The second piece of declassified intelligence I want to share today is from an Israeli Security Agency interrogation of a Hamas terrorist who massacred civilians in Kfar Aza on October 7th.
I warn you that as horrific the pictures of the massacres are, the mind’s ability to imagine the horrors that the terrorist describes can be far worse. A transcript of part of the confession is below but you can watch the entire video here.
"We entered the house next to us, we entered through the window. We checked the house and heard the voices of young children inside the protected shelter. We shot at the shelter. Until we didn’t hear voices anymore.”
"Our mission was to kill. We were not told to kidnap, only to kill. To kill anyone we saw, and then to return. Our mission was in the area of Kfar Aza.”
What you just read is a clear and direct instruction to carry out a war crime.
To murder innocent children in cold blood.
To fire at them until they can no longer cry.
That is the enemy we are facing. Our mission in Gaza is clear – to make sure the events of October 7th never happen again, to dismantle Hamas, and bring our hostages home.
Wait, Why Are You Declassifying Intelligence in the Middle of a War?
Sharing all of this exposes IDF intelligence capabilities. It comes with a cost for the IDF. There’s a reason militaries don’t usually do this in a time of war.
But it’s important enough that we will do it anyway.
The world must see Hamas for who they are.
Terrorists that deprive their own people of fuel for hospitals. Terrorists who put themselves above their people.
Of course, an organization that starts a war by murdering children in cold blood will also lie.
In their interviews, Hamas leaders are trying to justify their crimes. They claim they have no fuel. They claim they don’t target civilians. They claim they are interested only in the welfare of the people of Gaza. These are lies. And they will continue to lie.
If there is one message you take from this email it’s this:
Do not believe anything from Hamas.
The IDF does not always have instant answers. But we will always be reliable.
Because it’s more important to get the truth than to be first.
Our troops in Gaza continue their mission to strike terrorists and dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities and infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip. In the last 24 hours dozens of terrorists were killed in firefights with our forces.
The IDF continues to advance in Gaza City, conducting close combat with Hamas and facing terrorists with anti-tank missiles, explosive devices and more.
Targets struck include weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, anti-tank missile launching posts, and UAV launching posts.
Dozens of terrorists have been killed. As part of the focus on senior and tactical leadership, the Head of Hamas’ Anti-Tank Missile Unit, Muhammad A'sar, was targeted in an aerial strike.
Since the beginning of the war, the IDF has notified families of 332 fallen IDF soldiers, 18 more since the morning of October 30.
Hezbollah continues to attack Israeli positions in northern Israel with rockets and anti-tank missiles.
Last night a surface-to-air missile was launched from Lebanon toward an IDF UAV. In response, the IDF struck the terrorist cell that fired the missile and the launch site. There was no damage to the UAV.
A number of launches were identified from Lebanon toward the area of Har Dov and Mount Hermon in northern Israel. They fell in open areas. IDF artillery struck the source of the launches in response.
Quote of the Day
We are fighting for the values of justice and morality upon which the country was established, against a terrorist organization that committed vile and horrific war crimes ... We are fighting for our right and the right of future generations to live in safety and prosperity in our homeland.
Lt. Gen Herzi Halevi, IDF Chief of Staff
(Excerpt from the Chief of the General Staff’s missive to the soldiers of the IDF.)
The BBC Visits Kibbutz Nirim
The BBC toured Nirim, featured the damage caused to the kibbutz and spoke to survivors of Hamas’ October 7th massacre
What I’m Reading
These are interesting articles I’ve recently come across. By sharing them I am not endorsing them, their points of view, or the veracity of information therein. They’re just interesting articles I came across.
WSJ editorial on the different messages Hamas puts out to the international community in English, and what they’re saying in interviews in Arabic. Recently, Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas Politburo was interviewed on Lebanese TV. His message? “The Al Aqsa Flood (Oct 7th) is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth”
Hamas vs Israel, The Limits of Analogy - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
In every war, our natural instinct is to look to the past for easy analogies, shorthand for understanding the present. In this analysis, Robert Satloff warns against giving in to the temptation to oversimplify and explains why this war is different.