Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning Hamas terrorists to surrender or die after hundreds of Palestinians were arrested and some surrendered in northern Gaza last week.
“In the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces. They are laying down their weapons and turning themselves in to our heroic soldiers,” Netanyahu said.
“This will take time. The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas. I say to the Hamas terrorists: It’s over. Don’t die for [Hamas leader] Sinwar. Surrender – now!” he added.
Jewish News asked an Israeli minister about the prospects of a ceasefire with Hamas: “We know that there is only one option: to destroy Hamas. This is our goal and we will achieve it.”
On two occasions last week, hundreds of Palestinians were stripped off their clothes and handcuffed as the Israeli army arrested them in Jabalia and Shejaiya. Israeli Channel 12 reported that roughly 60 percent of those arrested in Gaza in the past couple of weeks were terrorists, while Haaretz cited defence officials saying that only 10-to-15 percent were members of Hamas.
IDF: “In the last 48 hours, we apprehended more than two hundred suspects, dozens of whom were transferred to the 504 Unit of the Intelligence Corps and to the ISA (Shin Bet intelligence) for investigation in Israel. Amongst the suspects transferred for investigation are Hamas… https://t.co/n4t6rT1oM0
— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) December 8, 2023
The videos of men in their underwear went viral on social media, causing widespread anger over the humiliation of the prisoners. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said the distribution of this kind of footage would be prevented in the future.
IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus meanwhile told CNN that the arrested men were “without clothes in order to make sure they’re not carrying explosives”.
New footage apparently leaked by Israeli army showing more Palestinians arrested in Norhern Gaza, some armed.
IDF spox Jonathan Conricus told CNN that the army arrests Palestinian suspects “without clothes in order to make sure they’re not carrying explosives.”
— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) December 9, 2023
The procedure was also defended by government spokesperson Eylon Levy, who said: “The people we’re seeing in these images are all suspected terrorists. We wish that all Hamas fighters were wearing uniforms that clearly said Hamas on their helmets, because that would make them easier to identify them. But when Hamas dress up as civilians, and fight within civilian areas, they make it very difficult to find them.”
Hamas has also released footage showing its members wearing civilian clothes while firing at Israeli soldiers from civilian areas in Gaza.
Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency released video recorded interrogation of former Hamas communications minister Yousef al-Mans who said that there is widespread anger against Hamas and its leader, Yahya Sinwar, in Gaza.
“People in the Gaza Strip say that Sinwar and his group destroyed us, we must get rid of them. I have not seen anyone in the Gaza Strip who supports Sinwar; nobody likes Sinwar. There are people who, day and night, pray that God will free us from him,” he added.
Al-Mans accused Sinwar of suffering from “delusions of grandeur,” claiming that he feels like he is “above everyone else. Acts only as he thinks. He makes decisions without consulting anyone.”
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