Israeli censor warns media after Hamas publishes photos of Gaza raid 'fugitives'
Israel's military censor has issued a warning to media outlets after Hamas published photos of 'fugitives' it said were involved in a botched Israeli undercover raid into the Gaza Strip this month and appealed for details about them.
Without commenting on the credibility of Hamas's information, the censor urged the media not to disseminate any details about the 11 November incident in which an Israeli colonel, a Hamas commander and six other Palestinians were killed.
Israel has not released the name of the dead Israeli officer, citing security considerations, and has not commented on the purpose of the undercover mission that Hamas said it interrupted when its men challenged a civilian vehicle.
The incident led to a two-day flare-up of rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli air strikes.
A photo array of six men and two women, described by Hamas as "fugitives," appeared without names on the website of its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on Thursday.
The website listed phone numbers for people to call or text with any information about the suspects.
The censor said Hamas was trying "to decipher and understand the event that took place deep in Gaza".
It urged the Israeli media to "refrain to every extent possible from disseminating pictures, personal identifying details or other personal details that you have received for your information through the media, social networks, WhatsApp groups and any other platform. One must conduct oneself responsibly.
"Every piece of information, even if it is considered harmless by those publishing it, is liable to endanger human lives and cause harm to the country's security," it said.
Israeli law mandates that local and foreign media submit stories dealing with national security or the military to the censor before publication.
In reality, reports on routine military activity are rarely submitted, and the censor is largely powerless to block social media posts, the Reuters news agency reported.