The War of Casualties: During Operation Protective Edge children and teenagers were exploited by terrorists as auxiliaries and operatives. The extent of the phenomenon is still unclear.

Issued on: 17/09/2014 Type: Article

Overview

1.   An examination of about a third of the names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge revealed several instances of children and teenagers serving as military operatives in the terrorist organizations. The examination also revealed instances in which the ages of Palestinian casualties were falsified by Gaza's Hamas-controlled ministry of health. For example, boys aged 15 and 17 were integrated into the terrorist operative networks; the age of a nine year-old terrorist auxiliary was listed as 24; and a terrorist operative in his twenties was listed as 13 years of age.

2.   Children and teenagers in Gaza's educational system undergo basic military training in the schools and summer camps.[1] Using them as auxiliaries and sometimes as operatives, in ITIC assessment, is not limited to isolated cases although at this stage it is difficult to estimate the extent of the phenomenon.

Using a Child as a Terrorist Auxiliary and Hiding His Age

3.   The ITIC's ongoing examination of the names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge revealed the case of a 9 year-old child, who was assisting his uncle, a senor Hamas operative in the Nuseirat refugee camp (central Gaza Strip). The boy and his uncle were killed in an IDF attack. They were listed as casualties by the Palestinian ministry of health. The boy was Obeida Fadhel Muhammad Abu Hweishel, according to ITIC research, was nine years old (born in 2005). However, according to the list issued by Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, was 24 years old (See pictures below). In ITIC assessment, listing his age as 24 was not an innocent technical error but rather a deliberate falsification whose objective was to conceal the fact that a child was exploited for terrorist activities.

4.   The Facebook picture shows the body of the child (referred to as "the child shaheed hero") wrapped in a shroud bearing the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades insignia and wearing an "Al-Qassam Brigades" headband. On July 23, 2014, the Hamas forum reported that he had supported his uncle, 'Adel Muhammad Abu Hweishel, in his jihad missions. The uncle, who was also killed, was a commander of Hamas' rocket network in the Nuseirat refugee camp (Hamas forum, July 23, 2014).

Obeida Fadhel Muhammad Abu Hweishel (highlighted), nine years old, listed as 24 by the spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health.
Obeida Fadhel Muhammad Abu Hweishel (highlighted), nine years old, listed as 24 by the spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health.

'Adel Muhammad Abu Hweishel, Obeida's uncle, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades terrorist operative. He headed the Hamas rocket network in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip (Elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il)
'Adel Muhammad Abu Hweishel, Obeida's uncle, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades terrorist operative. He headed the Hamas rocket network in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip (Elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il)

Talkback on Hamas' Internet forum, reading "The shaheed hero, the lion cub Obeida Fadhel Abu Hweishel, nephew of the shaheed 'Adel Abu Hweishel. Aided his uncle in his jihad missions (PALDF.net, the Hamas forum, July 23, 2014).
Talkback on Hamas' Internet forum, reading "The shaheed hero, the lion cub Obeida Fadhel Abu Hweishel, nephew of the shaheed 'Adel Abu Hweishel. Aided his uncle in his jihad missions (PALDF.net, the Hamas forum, July 23, 2014).

Examples of Teenagers Killed in Terrorist Organization Activities

5.   The Palestinian ministry of health listed Wasim Rida Salhia from Khan Yunis, as killed on July 18, 2014. His age was given as 15. ITIC examinations revealed that he was, in fact, 15 years old, having been born in 1999. He that he was an operative in a Fatah terrorist network called the Abu Rish Brigades.

Wasim Rida Salhia, terrorist operative in Fatah's Abu Rish Brigades (upper right hand corner), killed in an IDF attack.
Wasim Rida Salhia, terrorist operative in Fatah's Abu Rish Brigades (upper right hand corner), killed in an IDF attack.

6.   The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) list of its operatives killed in Operation Protective Edge included (with picture) Anas Qandil, 17 years old (Saraya.ps, September 2014). An ITIC examination verified that he was, in fact, 17. Anas Yusuf Qandil was an operative in the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ's military-terrorist wing. He was killed on July 12, 2014. His name and real age are also on the Palestinian ministry of health list.

Left: Anas Yusuf Qandil (YouTube.com). Right: Anas Qandil wearing a Jerusalem Brigades headband (Saraya.ps).
Left: Anas Yusuf Qandil (YouTube.com). Right: Anas Qandil wearing a Jerusalem Brigades headband (Saraya.ps).

Adult Terrorist Operative Represented as Child

7.   The Palestinian ministry of health listed Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Nasr, from Khan Yunis, who was killed on July 18, 2014, as a "13 year-old boy." In reality, he was in his twenties and a terrorist operative in Fatah's Abu al-Rish Martyrs Brigades. In ITIC assessment it was not an innocent technical error but the deliberate insertion into the list of a "13 year-old boy" with a name similar to that of the terrorist operative who was killed.

Left: Ibrahim Jamal Nasr (Facebook page of the Abu al-Rish Martyrs Brigades, July 19, 2014). Right: Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Nasr, senior Fatah Abu al-Rish Martyrs Brigades operative (YouTube, July 19, 2014).
Left: Ibrahim Jamal Nasr (Facebook page of the Abu al-Rish Martyrs Brigades, July 19, 2014). Right: Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Nasr, senior Fatah Abu al-Rish Martyrs Brigades operative (YouTube, July 19, 2014).

Pictures of Armed Children Who Were Killed

8.   The Facebook page of the al-Batash family, whose members were killed during Operation Protective Edge, posted pictures of two of its children with guns and an RPG launcher. The picture was entitled "Young jihad fighters." In ITIC assessment the picture did not necessarily indicate the involvement of children in supporting terrorist activity. Palestinian children are often photographed holding weapons to send the message that the younger generation will continue the armed campaign against Israel.

9.   The Facebook page dedicated to Salah Abu Hassanein, a senior PIJ commander, posted pictures of his son, Abd al-Aziz Abu Hassanein, 15, who was killed along with his father (the pictures many have been taken at a PIJ summer camp).

Abd al-Aziz Abu Hassanein, 15, son of senior PIJ commander Salah Abu Hassanein. He is photographed holding an RPG launcher (left) and two rifles (right), apparently at a PIJ summer camp in Rafah (Facebook page dedicated to "the shaheed commander, Salah Abu Hassanein (Abu Ahmed)," September 5 and 8, 2014).
Abd al-Aziz Abu Hassanein, 15, son of senior PIJ commander Salah Abu Hassanein. He is photographed holding an RPG launcher (left) and two rifles (right), apparently at a PIJ summer camp in Rafah (Facebook page dedicated to "the shaheed commander, Salah Abu Hassanein (Abu Ahmed)," September 5 and 8, 2014).

[1] Extensive information about military-terrorist training provided in Hamas-run schools and summer camps campaign be found on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website.

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