A Palestinian dentist confessed that Israeli intelligence agents spent hours on the phone with him to warn him to evacuate his area and warn others before the area was targeted by the Israel Defense Forces.
On October 19, Mahmoud Shaheen, who lived in an area that had not been yet targeted, received a phone call.
“I’m speaking with you from Israeli intelligence,” a man told him in perfect Arabic, addressing him by his name. “He told me he wanted to bomb three towers … and ordered me to evacuate the surrounding area,” Shaheen recalled to the BBC. Suspicious that the call might be fake, Shaheen asked for a warning shot to be fired. A warning shot was then fired at a nearby building.
“I asked him to ‘shoot another warning shot before you bomb,” Shaheen reportedly said. Another warning shot was fired.
Shaheen tried to stall the forthcoming attack; he said the man on the other end of the phone said he would give him time because he didn’t want anyone to die.
“Why do you want to bomb?” Shaheen said he asked, eliciting the reply, “There are some things that we see that you don’t see.”
When a nearby tower was hit, the man on the phone told Shaheen, “This is the tower that we want, stay away.” After the bombing was over, the man told him, “We’ve finished … you can go back.”
Later the same day, another man called Shaheen telling him more buildings had been targeted and warning him to tell his neighbors to evacuate again, saying, “We want you to inform people to evacuate the area.”
“He even told me, ‘Take your time. I won’t bomb unless you give me permission,’” Shaheen recalled.
Mahmoud asked the man where the neighbors should go. “He said, ‘Either take them east or west,’” he remembered. “I said, ‘To take them east will be hard, because to the east of al-Zahra is Al Mughraqa — an already unsafe area. People were already scared to go there.’”
“He told me, ‘Take them west to Palestine Street.’ I suggested the University of Palestine and he said yes.”
The IDF has released recordings of other calls made to Gaza residents urging them to evacuate buildings. “In one recording, the local resident can be heard telling the Israeli officer that Hamas was shooting at people trying to flee south,” The Times of Israel noted.
IDF releases an audio recording of an officer in the Military Intelligence Directorate's Unit 504 — which specializes in HUMINT — speaking to a Gazan man, during which he describes how Hamas is preventing people from evacuating from the northern part of the Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/VgMJO3SzVo
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 26, 2023