IDF troops who engaged in fierce combat with Hamas terrorists for control over an operations base in the Gaza Strip were met with a disturbing tactic: roughly 100 women and children were pushed forward by Hamas to act as a human barrier.
Soldiers of the Givati Infantry Brigade encountered the shocking scenario during the battle for the base of Hamas’s elite Force 17 near Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip. "We stand ready to face more instances of such cynical and brutal use of civilians," an IDF officer said.
Two reconnaissance soldiers were killed in the fighting. A preliminary probe indicates that the tragedy unfolded during their withdrawal from the combat zone after successfully capturing the base.
A fatal missile strike hit one of the walls just as they were leaving the building. The commanders on the ground laid down heavy suppressing fire and completed a heroic rescue operation for the casualties under enemy fire.
The IDF reports that valuable intelligence gathered from the base is contributing to ongoing combat efforts. Amid extensive aerial and ground operations, the military is exercising caution to prevent strikes on areas where Israeli hostages are believed to be held underground.
The Givati Brigade lost 13 troops in total in the early days of the ground operation in Gaza after 11 soldiers of the Tzabar Battalion were killed on Tuesday after their armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank missile in the northern part of the territory.
The investigation into the APC incident is still underway. However, it has been established that the Trophy active protection system equipped on the advanced and heavily armored vehicle malfunctioned and failed to intercept the missile.
The Givati Brigade notes that their carriers' Trophy systems have effectively intercepted a number of anti-tank missiles in recent operations but they also rely on other countermeasures, such as mutual covering fire, operational maneuvering techniques and layers of reactive armor that encase the vehicle, based on the Merkava Mark 4 tank.