Hamas and its allies continue to spin disinformation narratives regarding the current Israel–Hamas war.
That includes attempts to whitewash what militant groups in Gaza call Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the series of coordinated attacks launched by Hamas into areas of Israel bordering the Gaza Strip on October 7 that sparked the ongoing conflict.
During an October 19 interview on Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya television channel, former Hamas chief Khaled Mashal called reports of Hamas’ direct targeting of civilians “an accusation fabricated by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
Interviewer Rasha Nabil pressed Mashal on those claims, noting that Israel had gained sympathy in the West because of the atrocities Hamas committed against Israeli civilians and foreigners on October 7.
“Is treating civilians this way part of Hamas's ideology?” Nabil asked.
Mashal denied it.
"Sister, I told you that Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, and our military organizations focus their resistance on the occupation forces, on the soldiers, but in all wars, there are some civilian victims. We are not responsible for them.”
When Nabil asked if Mashal would apologize for Israeli civilian deaths on October 7, he responded:
“Hamas does not kill civilians on purpose. It focuses on the soldiers. Period.”
That is false.
Documents found on the bodies of Hamas militants outlined their plans to kill civilians, including the intentional targeting of women and children. Video and other evidence show they carried out those plans.
Of the nearly 1,400 people killed on October 7, the bodies of 1,033 civilians have been collected.
Contrary to claims spread by Iranian state media, Hamas did not just kill soldiers and “illegal settlers.”
Foreign nationals with no apparent family ties to Israel, including 30 from Thailand, 10 from Nepal, four from China and four from the Philippines, were among those Hamas militants killed on October 7.
Hamas killed dozens of other foreign nationals, from North and South America (including 31 U.S. nationals), Europe and Asia. Some of those, however, were dual citizens.
Hamas killed 260 people and took dozens more hostage after assaulting a music festival near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel, close to Gaza.
Footage of the massacre shows Hamas militants shooting at fleeing civilians.
Hamas also killed Awad Darawshe, an Israeli Arab paramedic who tried to attend to wounded festivalgoers.
On October 23, Israel held a screening for more than 200 journalists that featured bodycam footage, video surveillance footage, dashboard camera footage and recordings from the mobile phones of both Hamas militants and victims, all of it filmed during the October 7 assault.
It included footage of a Hamas militant throwing a hand grenade at a father and his two sons attempting to take cover, killing the father and wounding the boys.
Other footage showed a Hamas militant using a garden hoe to behead Thai national, whom the militants had shot in the stomach.
“Men, women, and children are shot, blown up, hunted, tortured, burned, and generally murdered in any horrible manner you could predict, and some that you might not,” wrote The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood, who attended the screening.
Wood described the assault as “predatory sadism,” noting the targeted killing of civilians and the desire to disfigure the bodies of those who had already been killed.
Israeli authorities indicated that they held back from screening some of the more gruesome footage available.
Human rights groups have also documented Hamas atrocities against civilians on October 7 and have called for war crimes investigations.
However, Amnesty International and others argue that Israel’s response has been disproportionate and accused Israel of carrying out indiscriminate attacks resulting in massive civilian casualties, which, they say, should also be investigated as war crimes.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, said at least 5,791 Palestinians, including 2,360 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7.
Israel contends that a large number of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets misfire, killing Gaza civilians.
That, however, does not negate Israel’s obligation to protect civilians according to international law, although it makes doing so more difficult.
Hamas authorities have proved to be an unreliable source of information, as shown after the October 17 explosion at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.
Hamas blamed the explosion on an Israeli airstrike, which they claimed killed more than 500 people. That claim sparked angry protests worldwide.
The evidence now broadly suggests a misfired Hamas rocket caused the explosion.
Western and Israeli officials say the blast killed dozens, not hundreds.