Israeli Officials: Hamas Instructed to Kill Hostages if IDF Approaches

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A new report by the New York Times on Monday cited Israeli officials as saying that Hamas terrorist leaders have given standing orders to terrorists who are holding hostages saying “that if they think Israeli forces are coming, the first thing they should do is shoot the captives,”.

The report comes two days after the Israel Defense Forces’ rescue of four hostages from Nuseirat in central Gaza. The newspaper also reported that if other hostages were killed on Saturday, as Hamas claimed, “it might have been at the hand of the [terrorists], not because of an Israeli airstrike.”

In the rescue operation over Shabbos, Israeli forces raided two buildings where the four hostages were kept simultaneously, out of fear that if Hamas realized an operation was taking place, they would start murdering hostages. The two civilian buildings being used to hold the hostages were about 200 meters apart.

In the same report, the Times also wrote about Washington’s contributions to hostage-rescue efforts. Since almost immediately after Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel, US officials said “the sheer numbers of American aircraft” gathering intelligence over Gaza have been able to surface information that Israeli drones missed.

“At least six MQ-9 Reapers controlled by Special Operations forces have been involved in flying missions to monitor for signs of life,” the US officials were quoted as saying.

While Israel is reportedly using ground-based sensors to map out Hamas’s tunnel network underneath Gaza, drone aircraft can use infrared radar which “can detect the heat signatures of fighters or other people going into or out of tunnel entrances on the surface,” the report said.

The NYT report also cited current and former US officials as saying that intelligence sharing between Washington and Yerushalayim has expanded beyond just hostage-recovery efforts. Overall, the US and the UK “are part of the largest intelligence effort ever conducted in Israel, and probably ever,” Avi Kalo, a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves, told the NYT.

Part of this process is intelligence efforts focused on identifying patterns that could help determine optimal timing for possible hostage rescue operations, the report said, such as “trying to learn how long Hamas holds people in one place before moving them to another.”

A “small group of hostages” are believed to be held as human shields near Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza.

Sinwar, hid in tunnels below Rafah for a while, but is now “likely back under Khan Younis,” where there is a vast subterranean network. “Neither the United States nor Israel has been able to fix his precise location,” a US official was quoted as saying.

“Early in the war, some intelligence officials believed most hostages were being held in tunnels,” the report said. That may no longer be the case, since “living underground has proved tough for Hamas commanders, and… keeping hostages in the apartments of supporters of the organization has turned out to be easier.”

After Israel’s successful rescue operation, however, Hamas is expected to move more hostages into tunnels and potentially out of reach of commando forces, the paper said. “And it is not clear how many more opportunities for rescue raids there will be, at least aboveground ones.”



  1. “Supporters?” You mean civilians right? So the civilians are terrorists too.
    And the tens of thousands of “civilians” who knew about the kidnapping victims and did nothing are also complicit and deserve to die. עיין מסכתא סנהדרין


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