Testimony Num : 161

A real bunker inside a mosque

Throughout Operation Cast Lead, as part of our combat mission, my soldiers and I went from door to door, from house to house, according to precise intelligence, to look for weapons, explosives and mines. The places where I found weapons were unimaginable. These were places where weapons are not supposed to be. Places where children play, places where people work. Here are a few examples: mines between mattresses in a bedroom, explosive charges under beds, kindergartens full of explosives and missiles, a mosque where we found weapons – a real bunker inside a mosque. In my eyes, all these things are inconceivable. Hamas knew very well that we would not attack these places and would not even go inside them, and therefore exploited this fact to hide its activists and terrorists and to conceal explosives and missiles.
At the beginning of the fighting, we did not open fire at kindergartens, mosques, UN facilities or at anything that was international, educational or civilian. After a few days of fighting, however, when we realized that there were explosives, missiles and rockets even in those places, we began entering them and found the weapons that were hidden in them. At the second week of fighting, when we saw and realized that Hamas, as a tactic, was taking advantage of our restraint. We began to initiate and to attack those places directly and by air. We realized that if Hamas is cynically using civilian locations, then from our point of view, they are legitimate and relevant targets. In my opinion, the decision to return fire to those places saved the lives of many soldiers in the field and also the lives of civilians at whom those launchers and missiles were directed.