Israel released maps, satellite photos and a video on Thursday that it said showed militants operating in humanitarian zones, and near a camp for the displaced and a U.N. logistics base in the Gaza Strip, bolstering its claims that Hamas uses civilians as cover for attacks on Israel.
Israel has long accused Hamas of operating under hospitals and in crowded neighborhoods to make it hard for Israeli forces to attack them without causing massive civilian casualties. Hamas has denied those claims.
On Thursday, the Israeli military posted online maps and a video showing where it said rockets had been fired toward Israel. The New York Times could not verify that rockets had been fired from either site.
Hamas did not immediately respond to Israel’s claims.
One map indicated a site where the Israeli military said rockets were fired from within what it said was the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone, a barren area in Gaza’s Rafah province that has become crowded in recent days as Israeli forces have directed people fleeing fighting to go there.
But Israel’s maps on Thursday appeared to show different boundaries for the humanitarian zone than one the Israeli military had distributed before. A map that Israel released on Nov. 23 showed a much smaller humanitarian zone, which did not include the spot where Israel said on Thursday that rockets were launched.
When asked about the discrepancy, the Israeli military did not respond directly, saying only that the rockets were being fired from “humanitarian zones.”
A video released by Israel shows what appears to be a rocket launch position just 100 meters from the edge of a tent city where thousands of civilians are sheltering on the outskirts of the city of Rafah. It is also 250 meters from the largest logistics base in Gaza for UNRWA, the U.N. agency responsible for Palestinian refugee affairs.
The video does not show rockets being launched, but shows the position before and after the alleged launches. The New York Times could not verify Israel’s claim that rockets were fired from the site.
This same area has long been used by Hamas as a training base, and it was used to practice paragliding in the lead-up to the Oct. 7 attacks, according to Hamas video that was geolocated by The Times using satellite imagery. A mock Israeli village used in Hamas training exercises lies about 1,000 meters from the rocket launch position, along with firing ranges and other Hamas training infrastructure.
Aaron Boxerman and Christoph Koettl contributed reporting.