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Israel says Hamas manual explains usage of human shields

Israel’s military says it has found a Hamas manual explaining how the militant group uses human shields to their advantage amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The “Urban Warfare” manual, belonging to Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, says that the group knows that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is trying to limit civilian casualties.

“The soldiers and commanders (of the IDF) must limit their use of weapons and tactics that lead to the harm and unnecessary loss of people and [destruction of] civilian facilities,” the manual says, according to a blog post on the IDF’s website. “It is difficult for them to get the most use out of their firearms, especially of supporting fire [e.g. artillery].”

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of launching rockets at Israel out of schools, homes and religious sites. The locations puts Gazans in danger as Israel tries to destroy the rocket launchers.

The manual adds that “presence of civilians are pockets of resistance” for Israeli troops, as they will have difficulty opening fire in their vicinity, as well as controlling them during operations and supplying medical care to civilians in need.

Hamas also states that homes and Gaza civilian facilities destroyed by Israeli airstrikes are beneficial to the group, according to the IDF.

“The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens toward the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces [i.e. Hamas]).”