Botched Israeli Operation in Gaza Appears to Have Been an Attempt to Install Wiretap, Senior Hamas Official Says

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Haya tells Hamas-run news outlet Israeli forces were rying to 'build something' in Khan Yunis, claims Hamas' military wing was 'there to block them'

Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh and Khalil al-Haya on the Gaza border, October 2018.
Khalil Hamra/AP

The Israeli force exposed last week in Gaza was apparently planning to install a listening device, senior Hamad official Khalil al-Haya told the Hamas-run al-Aqsa television station Saturday.

Al-Haya also suggested that the special forces were trying to "build something" in Khan Yunis, saying that Iz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas' military wing, was "there to block them."

Last week, an Israeli army lieutenant colonel was killed alongside seven Hamas militants, including a battalion commander, during an operation in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis.

>> Gaza incident was a botched Israeli military op, but not an assassination attempt | Analysis

Israeli soldiers gather around Merkava tanks stationed along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 13, 2018.
AFP

According to al-Haya, the Israeli officer who died in the incident was shot early on in the fire exchange between the forces.

"The Israeli enemy tried to score a security achievement in the Gaza Strip and thought the Strip was safe for it," al-Haya said in the interview.

"However," he continued, "the time has come to prove to the enemy that entering Gaza is no field trip."

Following the botched operation, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets and mortar shells at Israel while the military responded with massive airstrikes in the Strip. On Tuesday, a cease-fire was reached and calm has since been maintained.