Israeli Intelligence Spent Hours on Phone with Gaza Dentist, Coached Him Through Apartment Evacuation to Avoid Civilian Casualties
Category: News & PoliticsBy: kavika • 3 weeks ago • 35 comments
Israeli intelligence officials called Mahmoud Shaheen, a dentist in Gaza, late last month and spent several hours walking him through the evacuation of several apartment buildings that were later struck by the air force.
“I’m speaking with you from Israeli intelligence,” Shaheen recalled the military officer instructing him in Arabic. The soldier, who identified himself only as “Abu Khaled,” ordered Shaheen to help “evacuate the surrounding area,”Shaheen told the BBC. “He told me he wanted to bomb three towers,” Shaheen continued, “and ordered me to evacuate the surrounding area.”
At first, Shaheen did not believe the call to be authentic. Messages across Palestinian social-media had cautioned Gazans about fake calls. The dentist wanted the caller to confirm the severity of the situation by firing a warning shot. “I asked him to ‘shoot another warning shot before you bomb.'” A boom rang out, but Shaheen thought it could have been a drone crashing into a nearby apartment building. Once more, Shaheen asked for a warning shot. This time he heard it clearly.
“I told him: ‘Don’t betray us and bomb while people are still evacuating,'” Shaheen recounted telling Abu Khaled, pleading for patience as people fled from the structures. He stayed on the phone with the Israeli intelligence officer as he went door-to-door to get people out of harm’s way. “I didn’t want to know that there’s someone I could have saved and I didn’t,” he told the outlet.
Shaheen, at one point, tried to convince the military man to cancel the strike. “I tried my best to stop him. I asked, ‘Why do you want to bomb?'” he recalls asking Abu Khaled. “He said, ‘There are some things that we see that you don’t see.'”
“It is an order from people bigger than me and you, and we have an order to bomb,” the Israeli operative added. The disagreement went back and forth, even after the building was struck. “I told him al-Zahra [the neighborhood] is a civilian area. No one is a stranger here… I tried to make him understand. It is not a border area, we have not had previous clashes. It was always an area outside of trouble,” Shaheen added.
The conversations went on for hours, even after the building was destroyed and Shaheen returned to his home. At one point, during a later evacuation order from a different Israeli intelligence member, the two spoke about the atrocities of October 7. “He started telling me: ‘Did you see how they [Hamas] slaughtered those children with knives?’ I told him that according to our Islamic religion, this is forbidden,” Shaheen said.
Throughout the ensuing hours, Shaheen became a middleman between the IDF and ordinary Gazans helping to evacuate civilians. At one point, Shaheen sought to delay the bombings as people fled the scene. “He even told me, ‘Take your time. I won’t bomb unless you give me permission.’ I said: ‘No, it’s not my permission. I don’t want you to bomb anything. If you want me to evacuate, I will evacuate for the safety of the people, but if you want to bomb, don’t tell me you need my permission.”
The remarkable exchange provides a rare glimpse into Israel’s efforts to encourage civilians to avoid the ongoing war with Hamas.
LINK to original article: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/israeli-intelligence-spent-hours-on-phone-with-gaza-dentist-coached-him-through-apartment-evacuation-to-avoid-civilian-casualties/ar-AA1jBXkL?ocid=hpmsn&cvid=62e7774a8fea4d409c22049232efc216&ei=45