Report: Israel Exaggerated Invasion to Lure Hamas Fighters into Tunnels, then Bombed Them

TOPSHOT - Fire billows from Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 13, 2021. - Around 1,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israeli cities since hostilities escalated between Hamas militants and Israel earlier in the week, Israel's army said …
Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) exaggerated the degree of its incursion into the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, in order to draw Hamas fighters into their underground tunnel network before the Israeli Air Force (IAF) could bomb them, a new report says.

On Friday, shortly after midnight, the IDF used Twitter to announce: “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.” Many media announcements called it an invasion (Breitbart News noted only that Israel had “sent ground troops.”)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also added to the sense of a major ground invasion by tweeting a dramatic video address , vowing to restore “quiet and security to the State of Israel,” and adding that “this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

Those promises remain in effect, but the entire social media push appears to have been a ruse to cause maximum damage to Hamas — one in which Israel enlisted the international media, which played up the event to generate excitement and outrage.

Readers of Breitbart News were puzzled to note that in all of the photos emerging from Gaza, there appeared to be lots of explosions, but no photographs of actual troop movements.

Breitbart readers appear to be more perceptive than Hamas fighters.

Meanwhile, Israel pounded a network of tunnels in northern Gaza known as the “metro,” which Hamas has developed to move fighters around in the event of an Israeli invasion. Hamas tunnels are also used to infiltrate Israel to carry out terror attacks.

The Times of Israel described the attack: “According to the Israel Defense Forces, in this air campaign, which lasted nearly 40 minutes, some 450 missiles were dropped on 150 targets in northern Gaza, particularly around the city of Beit Lahiya.”

A few hours later, the IDF took to the airwaves to explain that there was no large-scale invasion, and analysts on Israel’s Army Radio suggested that something had been lost in translation from Hebrew to English to cause the global media confusion.

But Israel’s Channel 12 reported that “the misunderstanding was not in fact a mistake, but a ruse meant to draw Hamas fighters into underground tunnels built by the Gaza-ruling terror group, which the IDF targeted in a massive bombardment overnight.”

The IDF, together with Prime Minister Netanyahu, appears to have used social media to draw Hamas fighters into the tunnels, thus ensuring their deaths — saving the lives of Israeli soldiers in a real invasion, and reducing risk to Palestinian civilians.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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