The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet – local equivalent to the FBI) and its offshoots such as the small Unit 504 have been working around the clock in the Gaza Strip since day one. “So far during the ground operation we have arrested more than 300 terrorists from the terrorist organizations who were brought to Israel for further interrogation,” reported a senior Unit 504 officer. “The information from the interrogations of the terrorists is very valuable and contributes to the elimination of other terrorists and ensures the security of our armed forces.” Unit 504 has been instrumental in exposing Hamas’s exploitation of hospitals for a variety of terrorist and military purposes. Unit 504 not only recruits agents and sources from among our enemies, but its own commandoes take part in military operations on the battlefield.
During the fight against terrorists inside Israeli communities in southern Israel, dozens of agents and field interrogators joined IDF combat battalions to eliminate terrorists, support the evacuation of residents from the area, and expand on-site intelligence. At the same time, a temporary field facility for real-time interrogations was opened in the south, which was expanded into a permanent interrogation facility within a few days.
In a Unit 504 interrogation transcript with a Palestinian staying at Shifa Hospital, he stated that there were many Hamas terrorists there, which angered medical staff who were aware of their presence. The terrorist interviewed estimated that he alone had seen between 80 and 100 terrorists in the hospital. He added that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen disguised themselves in the clothing of various medical workers and also used the emergency room for their activities.
Another Palestinian, Hamdoah Riad Assad Samlah, reported how Hamas terrorists used 50,000 Palestinian civilians as human shields in the large Palestinian Red Crescent building in Gaza. He said no one can oppose Hamas or they will be killed. He added that Hamas wraps its rockets in civilian blankets to hide them from Israeli forces and that it often fires from close to the Red Crescent building. Another Palestinian reported to Unit 504 that he saw more than 100 Hamas terrorists controlling Rantisi Hospital in Gaza, spread out in tents with about five to six men per tent. He said he had also been to a hospital, known as the “Swedish Hospital,” where he saw at least seven Hamas terrorists. Although they were dressed in civilian clothes, he said he knew one of them personally and that the others were armed.
Hundreds were interrogated in the Gaza Strip and the locations of underground terror tunnels, weapons depots, the enemy’s operational methods and its attempts to assimilate the civilian population were uncovered. Throughout the war, the unit operated using a variety of means and methods to achieve four primary objectives: supporting ground operations, gathering intelligence for target confirmation, and directing and influencing civilian evacuation efforts to the southern Gaza Strip.
As part of the evacuation of civilians from the northern Gaza Strip, the unit used a variety of operational tools that enabled it to make more than 30,000 telephone calls, send more than 10 million text messages, more than nine million voice messages and delivery approximately four million leaflets from the air and on the ground urging the population to evacuate. The evacuation efforts allow Israeli forces to comprehensively strike Hamas’s infrastructure in the area.
Armed with accurate human intelligence provided by Unit 504, more than 300 newly discovered enemy targets in the Gaza Strip were confirmed and more than 100 targets were attacked. “We have received thousands of calls from the Gaza Strip, more than ever before in this unit. It is clear that Gazans are dissatisfied with Hamas’s barbaric behavior. The ordinary civilian understands that Hamas has brought the people of Gaza a catastrophe from which they will have difficulty recovering,” the officer confirmed. “On October 7, the unit’s interrogators joined forces fighting in the Gaza area, becoming a reliable primary source for the terrorist organization Hamas’s plans. With every single interrogation, new places and people from the Gaza Strip become known. The information from the interrogations of the terrorists is very valuable, it leads to the elimination of the terrorists and gives our armed forces the security not to fall into tactical traps in the Gaza Strip.”
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