IDF Opens Probes Into Botched Gaza Strip Operation
The Israel Defense Forces is launching two separate investigations into this month’s botched operation in the Gaza Strip in which special forces soldiers were exposed by Hamas, leading to clashes that resulted in the deaths of one Israeli officer and seven Palestinians. While the details of the mission in Khan Younis remain under a strict gag order by the Israeli military censor, it is believed that a gunfight broke out after the elite Israeli troops were uncovered after being stopped at a checkpoint. The soldiers were apparently tasked with installing spyware to enable the IDF to eavesdrop on terrorist groups as well as locate military infrastructure such as subterranean attack tunnels. The following day, Hamas responded by firing hundreds of mortars, rockets and missiles into Israel, pushing the sides to the brink of war that was averted by an eleventh-hour cease-fire agreement. The decision not to strike harder at Hamas was criticized by many in Israel and led to the resignation of defense minister Avigdor Liberman. According to the IDF, a small probe will be conducted within Military Intelligence and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks, while a second investigation will examine the wider scope of how the military conducts such missions.