A chilling report by +972 Magazine and Local Call (‘A mass assassination factory’: Inside Israel’s calculated bombing of Gaza’), based on testimony from seven current and former members of Israel’s intelligence community, exposes the grim reality of Israel’s war on Gaza. It claims the IDF knowingly selects civilian targets, routinely wipes out entire families, and writes off hundreds of innocent lives at a time as “collateral damage”. The sources say these tactics are intended to instil fear in the population. Let us call things by their real names: this is terrorism.
The report states that the IDF’s assault on Gaza (‘Operation Iron Swords’), following Hamas’ 7 October attack, has seen the army “significantly expand its bombing of targets that are not distinctly military in nature” compared to past operations. Private homes, government buildings and critical infrastructure (euphemistically dubbed “power targets”) have all been marked for bombing.
According to the +972 report, IDF airstrikes have flattened the Islamic University of Gaza, the Palestinian Bar Association, a UN building for an educational program for outstanding students, a building belonging to the Palestine Telecommunications Company, the Ministry of National Economy, and the Ministry of Culture. To this we can add Gaza City’s al-Buraq school, the mediaeval Omari Mosque, the al-Maghazi refugee camp, and hundreds of other civilian targets.
An IDF spokesperson, cited in the report, claims that, during the first five days of fighting up to 11 October, half of the targets bombed in Gaza (1,329 out of a total 2,687) were so-called “power targets”. According to sources with first-hand experience of these methods, hitting power targets is intended to “create a shock” and “lead civilians to put pressure on Hamas.” In many cases, justification for levelling a civilian building is sought by claiming militants live or work there. But, as one former intelligence official notes:
“Hamas is everywhere in Gaza; there is no building that does not have something of Hamas in it, so if you want to find a way to turn a high-rise into a target, you will be able to do so.”
Killing militants is only a fig leaf. The real point is to send a message. As another anonymous source notes:
“If they would tell the whole world that [Hamas or Islamic Jihad] offices on the 10th floor are not important as a target, but that its existence is a justification to bring down the entire high-rise with the aim of pressuring civilian families who live in it in order to put pressure on terrorist organisations, this would itself be seen as terrorism. So they do not say it.”
The sources claim that, in the past, the IDF would take steps to ensure “power targets” were evacuated of civilians before a strike – with warnings by phone for instance, or “roof-knocking” with a small explosive prior to deploying heavy ordinance, cross-checked by drone footage. But, the report notes, testimonies and videos from Gaza suggest that the IDF has been hitting targets without any warning to their occupants, exterminating whole families in the process.
This practice apparently started on day one. For instance, on 7 October (according to Amnesty International), Israeli forces struck a three-storey residential building in the al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City. The building was home to three generations of the al-Dos family: 15 were killed, with the youngest being 18 months old. The report is full of stomach-churning accounts of high-rise buildings, full of civilians, being destroyed without warning. One man, Yousef Amar Sharaf, lost 37 members of his family when the 12-story Al-Taj residential building in Gaza City was brought down.
Another building, the eight-story Al-Mohandseen residential block, was blown up without warning on 31 October. It used to stand in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, south of Wadi Gaza: supposedly in the “safe” zone where Israel directed Palestinians fleeing their homes in the north. 120 people were left buried under the rubble.
“Nothing happens by accident”
At the time of writing, approximately 20,000 Palestinian civilians have been butchered in Gaza since 7 October. Two reasons for the unprecedented level of bloodshed (according to the report) are the IDF drastically loosening its threshold for acceptable collateral damage, and speeding up its target selection process, allegedly with the aid of Artificial Intelligence.
The intelligence sources are quoted as saying that Israel has a very clear picture of how many civilians will die in a given strike. The sources claim the Israeli military command will sometimes knowingly approve the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an attempt to assassinate a single top Hamas operative. This was the justification for the bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp, for instance, in which over 200 were killed and 240 injured in order to assassinate one Hamas commander.
“Nothing happens by accident,” says one. “When a 3-year-old girl is killed in a home in Gaza, it’s because someone in the army decided it wasn’t a big deal for her to be killed – that it was a price worth paying in order to hit [another] target. We are not Hamas. These are not random rockets. Everything is intentional.”
We are reminded of the case of Ahmed Abu Artema, a Palestinian activist who co-organised the peaceful March of Return in 2018-19. Artema had agreed to give an interview with marxist.com, but the day prior his home was hit by the IDF, killing five of his relatives and hospitalising him.
The imperative, according to the sources, is to kill as many Hamas and PIJ militants as possible, as quickly as possible – whatever the cost. There are “cases in which we shell based on a wide cellular pinpointing of where the target is, killing civilians,” they state in the report. “This is often done to save time, instead of doing a little more work to get a more accurate pinpointing.”
The emphasis is on quantity rather than quality, with relatively junior operatives being targeted even when civilian casualties will be high. “In the past, we did not regularly mark the homes of junior Hamas members for bombing,” said one security official who participated in previous operations. “In my time, if the house I was working on was marked Collateral Damage 5 [meaning five or more civilians are likely to die as a result], it would not always be approved.”
“To my understanding, today they can mark all the houses of [any Hamas military operative regardless of rank],” a source states. “That is a lot of houses. Hamas members who don’t really matter for anything live in homes across Gaza. So they mark the home and bomb the house and kill everyone there.”
According to the report, the process of target selection has been ramped up using a system called Habsora (“The Gospel”), allegedly based on AI, which facilitates what a former intelligence officer calls a “mass assassination factory”. The Gospel apparently crunches huge quantities of intelligence to rapidly identify bombing sites. “In the past there were times in Gaza when we would create 50 targets per year,” said a source. “And here the machine produced 100 targets in one day.”
These cold, callous calculations become the basis for an inhuman campaign of terror. What’s more, despite Israel’s pledge to ‘destroy Hamas’, the military impact of these strikes is limited. According to Israeli commentator Avi Issacharoff, “it does not appear that the military arm of Hamas has been significantly harmed.” According to the report, the real purpose of such tactics is on the one hand to terrorise the Palestinian people as noted, and on the other, to project an impact of strength within Israel.
The article cites a propaganda campaign during Operation Guardian of the Walls in 2021, in which images and videos of army strikes on Gaza were deliberately uploaded by soldiers (under fake accounts) to social media, to demonstrate the army’s effectiveness to the Israeli public. “There is a feeling that senior officials in the army are aware of their failure on October 7,” says a source. “[They] are busy with the question of how to provide the Israeli public with an image [of victory] that will salvage their reputation.”
On reading this report, we cannot help but once again emphasise the stinking hypocrisy of Israel’s western allies. We recall, for example, how US President Joe Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre thundered against “Putin’s brutality” after Russian missiles struck apartment buildings in downtown Kyiv last October. “We will continue to impose costs on Russia [and] hold them accountable for its war crimes”, she said.
In the past two weeks, the US twice voted against UN Security Council resolutions for a ceasefire in Gaza. “We do not support this resolution's call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only plant the seeds for the next war,” said US Ambassador Robert Wood. Britain’s ambassador Barbara Woodward, whose country abstained, said: “Israel needs to be able to address the threat posed by Hamas and it needs to do so in a manner that abides by international humanitarian law so that such an attack can never be carried out again.”
What a sick joke! Israel is committing deliberate, industrial-scale slaughter of civilians in Gaza, raining hellfire down on people’s homes, with the connivance of its imperialist allies, who then make reference to 'international law!' The worthless thieves kitchen of the UN, for its part, is revealed as impotent while the butchery continues.
The 972+ and Local Call report provides further evidence of Israel’s crimes, but in reality they are visible to anyone with eyes to see. There will be no justice at the hands of the so-called international community. Only a revolutionary overthrow of the vicious Zionist regime can avenge the dead.
Original report from +972 Magazine and Local Call (‘A mass assassination factory’: Inside Israel’s calculated bombing of Gaza, by Yuval Abraham)