An Israeli analyst told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday morning that he received information from reliable sources that 3,000 Hamas elite soldiers told their families goodbye and appear ready to carry out suicide attacks on Israel.
Middle East analyst Gershon Baskin said that all the fighters were equipped with suicide vests and that they had expected to die in terrorist attacks.
Baskin spoke just hours after a Hamas suicide attack, believed to have been conducted by the group’s militant wing Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, killed two Israeli soldiers. During the surprise Hamas attack, which happened two hours into the 72-hour agreement for a cease fire, the militants captured an Israeli officer.
“You say these elite fighting forces they’re all prepared– they all go in with suicided vests ready to kill themselves in order to kill Israelis?” Blitzer asked as Baskin nodded.
“I was told by someone who had spoke to al-Qassam, the military wing of officer who said that before the ground operation began they were all instructed to go to their families and say goodbye to their families with the intent that they would not be returning alive from this battle,” Baskin told Blitzer in an news report airing live from Israel. “This is one of the very difficult things about fighting with an organization like Hamas, particularly these very dedicated soldiers, combatants who are not afraid to die.”
“We will do what needs to be done to protect our people,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Blitzer after Baskin’s interview.