Human Shields: 'Hamas Wants Israel to Kill Their Children'
GAZA BORDER -- Seven Israeli soldiers have been killed in a confrontation with Hamas infiltrators disguised as Israeli soldiers wearing suicide belts inside the Israeli border.
The IDF killed most of these infiltrators. So far, the Israel Defense Force has destroyed more than 20 tunnels and killed nearly 200 Hamas terrorists since the start of its ground operation.
Here on the Israeli-Gaza border you can see the plumes of smoke from the fighting within Gaza city. The IDF has called up 60,000 troops in Operation Protective Edge. About 30 soldiers have died in the line of battle.
Israeli soldiers find themselves fighting an enemy that uses the same tactics as al Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Col. Richard Kemp, who commanded British ground troops in Afghanistan, refutes the claim that Israel has committed war crimes.
"The British forces fought against the Taliban for many years in Afghanistan," Kemp said. "They use human shields. They attempt to lure us to kill their civilian population. It's a common theme among Islamist extremist groups in this world."
"Everything I've seen would suggest to me that Israel is not committing a war crime," he said. "Far from it. Israel is going further than most other countries in this world, going to prevent the loss of civilian innocent civilian life."
"The people that are committing the war crimes are Hamas who fire rockets into Israeli civilian population indiscriminately and who also use their own people as human shields," he continued. "That is a war crime."
"Hamas wants the Israeli Defense Force to kill their children, their women, that's what they want to happen," he said. "They want to get the propaganda; they want to get the publicity, the sympathy and the pity of the world to by getting the Israelis to kill their population. That's exactly what their tactic is."
Former IDF spokesperson Avital Leibovitz said Hamas deliberately put Palestinian civilians in harm's way during the intense fighting in Shebalia.
"We are trying to do everything we can in order to make sure that civilians are evacuated from the area," he said. "However, as we've seen from Hamas time and time again, the Ministry of Interior is forbidding their civilians -- it's really tragic -- he's forbidding them from leaving those areas and we find ourselves in very tough situations."
On the diplomatic front, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are in the region trying to broker a ceasefire. Yet Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said they would continue to fight Israel.