Civilians as Human Shields:

Issued on: 20/01/2009 Type: Article


1. During Operation Cast Lead a large quantity of operational sketches belonging to Hamas were seized showing the deployment of Hamas IEDs, forces and positions in the heart of densely-populated civilian neighborhoods . They relate to the Beit Lahiya and Al-Atatra regions , two civilian neighborhoods in the northern Gaza Strip which were locations preferred by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations as rocket launching sites.

Civilians as Human Shields

Location of Hamas's Military Compound in Beit Lahiya

Location of Hamas's Military Compound in Beit Lahiya
Sketch of positions and weapons in Beit Lahiya

2. The sketch of the Beit Lahiya region shows a number of streets as well as a mosque. Sniper positions, anti-tank positions and sites where various IEDs were placed are marked. Some of the weapons were located near residential dwellings.

3. We superimposed the sketch on an aerial map of the region. The positions, IEDs and weapons can be clearly seen near civilian dwellings, in fact turning the neighborhood into a military compound for Hamas's terrorist infrastructure.

Hamas's Military Infrastructure in Beit Lahiya Superimposed on an Aerial Photograph

Hamas Military Compound in Al-Atatra

4. The sketch of the Al-Atatra region (another preferred rocket launching zone) had a detailed legend showing IEDs and firing positions situated in densely-populated areas in the heart of the civilian population, another neighborhood in fact turned by Hamas into a military compound .

Sketch of the Al-Atatra neighborhood (IDF Spokesman, January 8, 2009).
Sketch of the Al-Atatra neighborhood (IDF Spokesman, January 8, 2009).

5. According to the sketch, Hamas divided the neighborhood into three fighting zone s and marked them in blue, red and green. There are various types of IEDs noted in each area: belly charges, booby-trapped barrels, side charges, anti-personnel and anti-tank IEDs, all dispersed throughout the neighborhood.

6. The sketch clearly shows that Hamas places IEDs in civilian sites and houses . For example, it shows a gas facility next to which an IED has been placed. It also shows the Al-Tawil mosque, where a sniper post was set up at the entrance . Similar posts can be seen at nearby mosques as well. The entrances to residential buildings which have been booby-trapped with charges are marked on the sketch. The Hamas command which planned the military compound must have been aware that if the IEDs were detonated, and if there were fighting from inside the buildings, the civilian population's lives would be at high risk.

7. The details of this sketch were also superimposed on an aerial photograph of the region. Here as well, IEDs, a sniper position, mines and tunnels near civilian houses can be seen, turning the neighborhood into a military compound for Hamas's terrorist infrastructure.

Hamas's Military Infrastructure in Al-Atatra Superimposed on an Aerial Photograph

Hamas's Military Infrastructure in Al-Atatra Superimposed on an Aerial Photograph

Additional Bulletins