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Hamas publishes photos of Israel forces involved in alleged botched Gaza op

JERUSALEM

Israel’s army censor warned Thursday against publishing photos released earlier in the day by Hamas of eight people it claimed were part of a recent Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip that turned deadly.

The armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, called for information on the people in the photos as it continued an investigation into the botched Israeli mission.

Hamas also distributed images of two vehicles purportedly linked to the covert operation, but provided no further details on the identities of the people pictured.

Israel’s army censor issued a statement shortly afterwards calling on the public and news media not to distribute the photos or information relating to them.

“Hamas is attempting to understand and analyse the incident that occurred in Gaza on November 11 and any information, even if it seems harmless by those who distribute it, can endanger lives and put state security at risk,” the army statement said.

It said in issuing the warning that it was not commenting on the credibility of the information Hamas had distributed.

A botched Israeli special forces operation on November 11 in the Gaza Strip prompted Hamas to vow revenge and led to the deadliest escalation between the two sides since a 2014 war.

The clash that resulted from the blown operation killed seven Palestinian militants, including a local Hamas military commander, as well as an Israeli army officer.

Israel has provided few details on the operation, but said it was an intelligence-gathering mission.

Palestinian militants in Gaza responded by firing some 460 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, as well as an anti-tank missile that hit a bus Hamas says was being used by Israel’s army.

In all, some 27 Israelis were wounded, three of them severely.

A Palestinian labourer from the occupied West Bank was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Israel hit back with widespread air strikes in the Gaza Strip that saw seven Palestinians killed in 24 hours.

A November 13 ceasefire brokered by Egypt ended the fighting that had raised fears of a fourth war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since 2008.

(AFP)

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