“Hannibal! Hannibal!” How Israel killed its own troops and slaughtered Palestinians to block its soldiers’ capture

The Hannibal Directive: How Israel Killed Its Own Troops and Massacred Palestinians to Prevent Its Soldiers’ Capture

by Max Blumenthal

In the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Aug. 1, 2014 is known as Black Friday. This was the day the Israeli military bombarded the city with almost every mode of destruction available to it, from F-16 missiles to Apache rockets to naval shelling to drone strikes and mortars.

Bulldozers ripped down homes at random while tanks barreled through neighborhoods, shelling anything in sight. In a matter of hours, at least 500 artillery shells and hundreds of missiles were dumped on the city, almost entirely in civilian areas. By the end, at least 190 people had been killed, so many that unequipped local hospitals were forced to store their corpses and body parts in ice cream coolers.

The target of the operation was not necessarily Rafah’s civilian population, though attacking it was part of the Israeli military’s underlying logic. Instead, the army apparently aimed to kill one of its own. Indeed, Israeli forces had invoked the Hannibal Directive, opening up an indiscriminate assault on the entire circumference of the area where one of its soldiers, Lt. Col. Hadar Goldin, was allegedly taken captive by an ambush team from the Hamas military wing known as the Qassam Brigades.

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