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EDITORIAL: Hamas continues to put its own people in harm’s way

Terrorist sympathizers reacted predictably to Israel’s daring rescue of four hostages on Saturday, blaming the Jewish state for harming civilians during the raid. This addled logic misses a significant point: Hamas intentionally stashed innocent captives among its own people and then fired on rescuers in a populated area.

Israeli commandos launched the raid — with aid from U.S. intelligence — during broad daylight after determining weeks ago that the hostages were being kept in Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip. One of the captives was in a low-rise apartment building, The Wall Street Journal reported, while the other three were in a nearby building.

The military action started with Israeli airstrikes to create a diversion. Israeli forces then launched simultaneous attacks on the targets. “In one building — where (Noa) Argamani was being held — the officers managed to take her Hamas captors by surprise,” an Israeli military spokesman told The New York Times. “In the other, Israeli forces engaged in a difficult firefight before reaching the remaining three hostages, he added.”

As the Israelis left the building, Hamas militants were “shooting at them and firing rocket-propelled grenades,” the Times reported. But the commandos fought their way out and transported the captives by vehicle to waiting helicopters.

The number of deaths remains unknown. Hamas claimed 274 people were killed, but its casualty counts have been notoriously inflated. One local official told the Times that “many Palestinians” were killed during strikes near a local market.

It’s worth noting that both sets of hostages were not only held in a civilian area, they were kept in apartments occupied by Gaza families.

Let’s recount: Hamas kidnapped more than 200 innocent people during its barbaric foray on Oct. 7 in order to use hostages as leverage. The terrorists then hid some captives among the civilian population in the residences of private families. Hamas leaders, thus, purposely invited the deaths of their own civilians as a means of ginning up international condemnation of Israel.

This despicable and cowardly tactic of hiding among innocents has riled even some Palestinians. “Residents in Nuseirat described it as one of the worst days of the war,” the Journal reported about the hostage rescue. But “some also voiced anger at Hamas for holding hostages in residential buildings, endangering the whole area.”

Rather than constantly hectoring Israel for responding to a violent terror group that openly seeks to wipe it from the map, the Biden White House should be pressuring Egypt and Qatar to convince Hamas leaders to change course and free the remaining hostages.

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