Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin briefed the cabinet Wednesday on the progress of Operation Cast Lead. According to Diskin, "Hamas has been attacked like never before. It has suffered significant damages and its rule over Gaza has been compromised." Diskin also noted that large numbers of Hamas operatives are hiding in hospitals and that some are posing as medical staff. "Some are also hiding in mosques and some of those have been turned into headquarters, since they assumed Israel won't attack them there.
I’m not surprised by this, as this is how Palestinian terror groups have always behaved under fire. What is more interesting is what exactly Hamas members have been up to as they pace those hospital halls. A NY Times report gives a peek into their extra-curricular activities:
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza, the director, Dr. Hussein Ashour, said that keeping his patients alive from their wounds was an enormous challenge. He said there were some 1,500 wounded people distributed among Gaza's nine hospitals with far too few intensive care units, equipped ambulances and other vital equipment.
On Monday, Dr. Ashour was not the only official in charge. Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the halls. Asked their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was internal bloodletting under way.
In the fourth-floor orthopedic section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher, he was shot in the left side of the head.
Mr. Hajoj, like five others killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel. He had been in the central prison awaiting trial by Hamas judges; when Israel destroyed the prison on Sunday he and the others were transferred to the hospital. But their trials were short-circuited.
I would suggest a bullet to the head is a far kinder exit - considering that shortly before the Israeli Operation Cast Lead, Hamas legislators had brought back crucifixion as a viable punishment for ‘capital’ crimes.