Israeli forces posed as medical aid workers and used "detailed but fake" ID cards of real Palestinian residents during their thwarted undercover raid in the occupied Gaza Strip last month.
According a report in the Independent, citing a number of Hamas sources, the Palestinians civilians whose identities had been "stolen" came from across the enclave "but not the area where the Israeli uncover operation was taking place", in case "they were discovered by local residents".
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesperson, said the ID cards were "very accurate", and included the correct full names, ID numbers and details of the residents.
Qassam told the paper that the Israeli soldiers were posing as aid workers when their car was stopped. "[They] were posing as NGO workers, there were women in the car as well. They used this to justify why they were stealing into Gaza and had a story prepared should they be questioned".
The Independent report noted that in light of the Israeli forces' impersonation of NGO workers, "many now fear that foreign aid workers will be at risk".
Qassem told the paper: "We are concerned that we want foreigners to keep coming in. They are helping with the humanitarian situation. We are dedicated to facilitating people coming in and out of Gaza. Any tightened security measures – which are applied to everyone – will be temporary."
Another, unnamed, Hamas official, said that there was a "high possibility" the team legally entered Gaza through an official crossing point such as Erez.
"They told the fighters at the checkpoint that they were delivering patients back from clinics to their homes and had a wheelchair in the back of the van", the official said.
"They presented their ID cars but the [fighters] manning the checkpoint were suspicious as their accents and voices did not match the areas where they said they were from."
On 11 November, violence broke out between Palestinian resistance factions and the Israeli army following the death of seven members of the Al-Qassam Brigades after Israeli special forces infiltrated the east of Khan Yunis province days earlier. The conflict resulted in the death of an Israeli officer and injured another.
The Israeli forces were reported to have focused on attacking houses and civilian towers and facilities during their attack on the enclave.