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How IDF used undercover soldiers posing as Gazans to prepare rescue mission

Undercover elite unit

Dramatic rescue operation last week that led to the freeing of four captives from Gaza relied on intelligence gathered by special ops soldiers posing as Gazans.

By World Israel News Staff

The dramatic rescue operation which led to the freeing of four Israelis held captive by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip last week relied heavily on intelligence gathered by undercover special operations forces posing as Gazans, according to a report Thursday.

The London-based Jewish Chronicle reported that the operation, conducted in the heart of the central Gaza town of Nuseirat, was the culmination of nearly two months of intense intelligence gathering efforts and on-site observation.

On May 12th, Israel obtained information regarding the whereabouts of four of the captives still being held by Gaza terrorists.

From that point onward, Israel maintained a close watch on the area in question, including dispatching undercovering special operations soldiers, or Mista’arvim, to pose as Gazans in order to observe the location where the captives were believed to be held.

Combined with regular aerial reconnaissance, the undercover teams ascertained that the four captives were in fact being held at two separate but adjacent locations, with three of the captives located in one third-floor apartment unit, while the fourth, Noa Argamani, was held in a first-floor unit in a neighboring building.

After 19 days of undercover operations on the ground, sufficient intelligence had been gathered to verify the location of the four hostages and begin planning the rescue operation itself.

During the planning stage, undercover female soldiers were deployed – alongside male solders – to the area, wearing hijabs and other religious Islamic garb to conceal themselves.

The teams posed as two Gaza families inquiring about a possible real estate purchase in Nuseirat.

The undercover agents were brought to the meeting in a two antiquated, rundown cars filled with household items, to indicate the “families” were refugees seeking a replacement home.

As a cover story, the undercover operatives said they have arrived from Rafah, fleeing a “deadly shelling from the Israeli army.”

Seeking to rent an apartment, they sought a unit in the building where Noa Argamani was held, offering a substantial cash payment for the apartment.

After offering three times the going rental rate, the operatives were able to secure a unit near the building where Argamani was held, some 800 yards from the apartment where the remaining three hostages were located.

Once the unit had been rented, the operatives continued to observe the immediate vicinity, with the agents carefully watching the reactions of locals to determine whether their presence had aroused suspicion.

Afterwards, the Israeli cabinet secretly voted to give a final green light to the rescue operation, prompting 28 members of the Yamam commando unit to begin training for the rescue mission, including drills in two mock buildings built based on intel collected in Nuseirat to simulate the locations of the four hostages.

On Friday,  June 6th, the 28 commandos were dispatched to Nuseirat, approaching the town undercover in two trucks.

At 11:00 a.m. that morning, the commandos stormed the two buildings in question, while the operation was observed via live video feeds from a security command center.

The commandos quickly killed the terrorists holding Argamani captive and within six minutes had exited the building with her, taking her to a waiting helicopter.

During the rescue of the three additional captives, however, the Yamam team encountered setbacks, splitting up into two groups to enter the building from the ground floor and the third floor via ladders.

The apartment in question, owned by Dr. Ahmed al-Jamal, a medical doctor with ties to Hamas, housed a number of al-Jamal’s relatives who were present at the time, including Abdullah al-Jamal, an Al Jazeera reporter.

The soldiers’ presence was quickly detected and a large gunbattle erupted, with some 30 Hamas terrorists surrounding the Israeli team and subjecting them to heavy machine gun fire, grenade attacks, and even rocket propelled grenades, leading to the death of Arnon Zamora, the single Israeli casualty in the operation.

 

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