Middle East

Gaza resident says he saw Israeli special forces disguised as Hamas fighters in rescue operation

From Mohammad Al Sawalhi in Gaza and Ben Brown in Jerusalem

A resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp told CNN on Sunday that he saw members of the Israeli military disguised as Hamas fighters and Palestinian civilians during their security operation to rescue four hostages a day earlier.

“I saw the special forces that arrived. They were dressed in military uniforms like resistance fighters, carrying helmets and wearing signs of the resistance, giving the impression to people that they were resistance fighters, but in reality, they were an Israeli special forces unit,” Khalil Al Tirawi told CNN.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Speaking to reporters following the operation, IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari declined to say whether the officers were disguised as Palestinian civilians. The Israeli military has previously used disguise as a tactic in its operations. When asked whether Israeli forces in civilian attire had participated, Hagari said: “We are using techniques and ways, details of which I will not give to the enemy.”

Tirawi said he saw the Israeli military arrive by car, “dressed in local military and civilian uniforms,” after which an exchange of gunfire began, and he saw missiles “raining down from all directions.”

“I am 60 years old and have never experienced anything like this before. It is beyond imagination—a barrage of heavy gunfire, artillery missiles, rockets. It was something unimaginable to the human mind,” Tirawi said.

Tirawi said his house was struck by missiles, along with five other homes, including his two neighbors’ and brother’s houses.

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