Israel's botched Gaza operation 'was to plant spy equipment'
Israeli soldiers who made an incursion into Gaza last week before being intercepted by Hamas were attempting to install spy equipment, an official from the Palestinian movement has said.
"The Zionist enemy tried to achieve a major security breakthrough. It apparently tried to install equipment and build something that would make it easy for it to kill, hack and abduct," Deputy Hamas chief in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, told the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV over the weekend, according to a translation by the Times of Israel.
"To make it easy for them to do anything. To make it easy to eavesdrop on all parts of the Palestinian people," he added. "It possibly could have made it easy for them to discover tunnels and other things," he continued in reference to Hamas' underground supply routes, many of which cross into Israel.
Israeli officials approached by Israeli media declined to comment on the claim.
The botched operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly, killing seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander, triggered a new round of violence before a ceasefire was agreed.
An Israeli army officer was also killed.
Israel said the covert operation was an intelligence-gathering mission, but its timing has raised questions since progress had been made in recent weeks toward ending months of unrest along the Gaza-Israel border.
The Israeli military carried out at least a hundred air raids on different locations in Gaza after the incursion, killing at least six Palestinians and wounding several more, along with destroying several Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions.
Those campaigns have killed thousands of Palestinian men, women and children, and rendered many buildings and crucial civilian infrastructure destroyed.