The IDF said on Wednesday that Hamas has rebuilt some of the capabilities that were damaged during last year's Gaza war, including three new tunnels and a series of weapons manufacturing and storage sites.
In a briefing to members of the foreign press, the military presented aerial imagery and maps showing what it said are tunnels, weapons production sites and arms depots positioned near schools, hospitals, the al-Azhar University. a Pepsi factory, mosques and United Nations facilities.
Senior commanders said those buildings would be hit and destroyed if a military operation against the terror group was launched.
The briefing was an effort by the IDF to enlist the legitimacy from the international community, should another round of fighting against Hamas break out.
The military said the images showed a weapons production facility operating from a school in Gaza, terror tunnels with rocket stockpiles near the Shifa hospital.
The briefing was given in order to prevent criticism of future operations, as was the case in last year's 11 days of fighting.
Israel was slammed for destroying a building in Gaza city that housed the offices of the Associated Press among other news organizations, because it identified Hamas intelligence operatives using some of the floors.
A high-ranking officer said there was no indication of an imminent threat of violence and that the border was enjoying a relative period of calm. but noted: “Hamas hides its military sites in civilian neighborhoods and our actions today are to allow us the freedom to operate, in case of conflict.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz who visited IDFs Gaza Division, also weighed in.
"The IDF present the entire world today examples of Hamas’s use of the civilian population as human shields," Gantz said. "Hamas is launching rockets from civilian populated areas – and at Israeli civilians. Israel is determined to bring peace and stability, and so we will strike at every military target of the Hamas and other terrorist organizations, which threaten Israeli civilians. The world needs to see the Hamas crimes and make them pay the price,” he said.
“We are diligently working to promote stability and safety for civilians," Gantz said. "We are continuing our efforts to bring back our captives in Gaza, while allowing Palestinians there, to enjoy improved financial conditions," he said adding that the military is also actively preventing Hamas attempts to increase its military capabilities," he said.