The militant group Hamas claims it had the resources to kill the head of the Israel Defense Forces. The Al-Qassam Brigades, known as the "military wing" of Hamas, released a video showing then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz touring the Gaza border during Operation Protective Edge last summer. Gantz is seen in the film through binoculars and was reportedly within firing range.
The Al-Qassam Brigades said the video illustrates its "readiness for any possible aggression," according to local media reports published Monday. But Israeli media challenged the claims, questioning why Hamas hadn't killed Gantz if they had a clear shot. Hamas, which is based in Gaza, has vowed to destroy Israel. Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 2 said the footage of Gantz was actually from his visit to the area four months before last summer's conflict.
Army Radio reported that IDF was checking the authenticity of the film. “If this is all authentic, there are lots of lessons to be learned,” an Army Radio military reporter said.
In the grainy video, several Israeli soldiers can be seen near military vehicles as a red circle allegedly marks Gantz at the center of the group. Gantz headed Israel's military forces during the 50-day-long conflict known as Operation Protective Edge last summer against Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
In the July-August led to the death of more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 66 Israeli soldiers, among others, according to the Times of Israel. The United Nations has accused both sides of using the war to advance its campaign against the other at the expense of innocent people. In May, Amnesty International released a report that said Hamas carried out extrajudicial killings of at least 23 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel during the conflict.
“In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses, including against people in its custody,” Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program of Amnesty International, said in a statement at the time. “These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”