Israeli spook warned me to evacuate before missile strike — and all my neighbours survived, says Palestinian dentist

Israeli spook warned me to evacuate before missile strike — and all my neighbours survived, says Palestinian dentist

A PALESTINIAN dentist has told how Israeli intelligence rang him and warned he had two hours to evacuate tower blocks that were about to be blown up.

Stunned Mahmoud Shaheen, 40, said the agent urged him to get hundreds of residents to safety before the strikes flattened more than 20 buildings.

Stunned Mahmoud Shaheen said Israeli intelligence urged him to get hundreds of residents to safety before his tower blocks were hit by missile strikesBBC

A voice on the other end of the line, speaking in flawless Arabic, addressed him by his full name and told him: “I’m speaking with you from Israeli intelligence.”

He ordered Mahmoud to evacuate the apartments in the middle class neighbourhood of Al-Zahra and even insisted: “Take your time.”

Mahmoud questioned their targets before being told: “There are some things that we see, that you don’t’.”

In the following minutes Mahmoud, and the caller, saved thousands of lives, the BBC reported.

The sequence of events revealed for the first time the extraordinary lengths taken by Israel to protect civilian life in the Gaza Strip.

Their bombardment continued apace today as troops on the ground, supported by rockets from land, sea and air pinned down Hamas fighters.

It’s an order from people bigger than me and you

The Sun witnessed a series of airstrikes from the Gaza border as mushroom clouds erupted and sporadic gunfire filled the air.

Tonight, as the skies overhead lit up once again, Mahmoud’s incredible account shattered claims of an indiscriminate Israeli carpet-bombing campaign.

Mahmoud tried to stall the spook, and tried his best to keep him from going ahead with the bombings while people were still evacuatingQUTAIBA KOLTHOUM

Mahmoud told how he received the call from a private number on October 19 — 12 days after Hamas monsters launched their massacre, killing 1,400 Israelis and injuring 3,500.

He was in his third-floor, three-bedroom flat in the block which had remained largely untouched when he heard people shouting: “You need to escape.”

As he left the building in search of safety his phone lit up — and changed his life forever.

Mahmoud said: “He told me he wanted to bomb three towers . . . and ordered me to evacuate the surrounding area.”

Mahmoud suspected it was a hoax and ordered the caller to prove himself by firing a warning shot.

Moments later, it hammered into one of the apartment blocks identified as a target.

Now that Mahmoud knew it was real he tried to stall, asking the man to be patient.

He said: “I told him, ‘Don’t betray us and bomb while people are still evacuating.’ ”

“I tried my best to stop him. I asked, ‘Why do you want to bomb?’ No one is a stranger here . . . I tried to make him understand.

“It is not a border area. We have not had previous clashes. It was always an area outside of trouble.

“He said, ‘There are some things that we see, that you don’t.’ ”

The stranger added: “It is an order from people bigger than me and you, and we have an order to bomb.”

Mahmoud asked him to fire another warning shot before the bombing commenced — before shouting as loud as he could for people to evacuate.

They poured into the streets shortly after 6.30am, screaming and running, some of them wearing their pyjamas or prayer clothes.

With the buildings cleared, the man on the other end of the phone line told him the air strikes would begin.

Mahmoud watched one of the apartment blocks crumble to the ground as the stranger told him in real time: “This is the tower that we want, stay away.”

Another two blocks were then destroyed. The caller, who remained on the line throughout, then told him: “We’ve finished . . . you can go back.”

Images taken in Al-Zahra that morning show rubble in the place of those three apartment blocks as residents wandered around in shock.

Mahmoud, stunned by what he had lived through, got another call later that same day from another private number and a man who introduced himself as Daoud.

Agent asked how much phone battery I had left

He added: “Immediately I understood there would be an evacuation and bombing, but I didn’t know what the target would be.

“I thought it might be my home, it might be the home next to me.

Dad-of-three Mahmoud orchestrated the evacuation before more than 20 blocks were levelledBBC

“He said to me, ‘We want you to inform people to evacuate the area.’ I said, ‘You need to give me time.’

“We evacuated all the people and even evacuated a third block because it was so close to the ­second one.”

Another six buildings were destroyed in the minutes that followed — but the Israeli Defence Forces were not finished.

They intended to bomb the full row of apartment blocks — a total of more than 20 — on the eastern side of the street.

At one point, Mahmoud said, the voice on the phone asked him how much battery he had left. He had 15 per cent.

They told him to hang up to preserve it and that they would call back again. Frequent calls followed.

Mahmoud recalled: “There were people we hadn’t evacuated yet because there was no warning about those buildings. I told him, ‘At least give us until morning, in night time, where will the people go?’

“The answer was, ‘The orders have been received, and we will bomb all towers within two hours’.

“He even told me, ‘Take your time. I won’t bomb unless you give me permission.’

They said, ‘We’ll keep calling until we finish’

“I said, ‘No, it’s not my permission. I don’t want you to bomb anything. If you want me to evacuate, I will evacuate for the safety of the people — but if you want to bomb, don’t tell me you need my permission.

“ ‘It’s not Mahmoud Shaheen who will bomb Al-Zahra’.

Intelligence undertook great lengths to protect civilian lives in the middle class neighbourhood of Al-ZahraSupplied

This picture shows the devastating aftermath of the bombings, after the residents were evacuatedSupplied

“They would ring to tell me, ‘Now we will bomb another building. Now we will bomb another one.’

“They said, ‘We will keep calling until we finish.’ ”

Amid the panic that followed Mahmoud stayed on the line.

He did all he could to delay the inevitable before leading the crowd of people to a nearby university.

Thanks to the dentist’s efforts — and those of the Israeli intelligence services — none of his neighbours died that day.

He said: “I don’t think about my clinic or my house, I just pray that I survive and stay alive.

“Material things are nothing, you could die at any second right now. We don’t think about anything else.”

SuppliedMahmoud led the crowd of people to a nearby university[/caption]


SuppliedThe initial strikes hit these three towers[/caption]

First Israeli bombing: MAHMOUD Shaheen is in his flat when he hears yells outside at 6.30am.

As he leaves the block, a man claiming to be from Israeli intelligence phones him.

The voice tells him to evacuate the area as three towers will be bombed.

Mahmoud asks the caller to prove his identity by firing a warning shot. Moments later one hits the block.

Mahmoud shouts at residents to leave. He is still on the phone when the apartment block is levelled.

Two more are destroyed before the spy tells him they have finished and he can return.

SuppliedThe extent of the bombings being destroyed in the second set of strikes[/caption]

Second Israeli bombing: MAHMOUD gets another private number call that night from a man identifying himself as “Daoud” who warns him more airstrikes are imminent.

Mahmoud is informed he has two hours’ maximum to get people out.

The dad of three orchestrates an evacuation before more than 20 blocks are level­led, leading residents to a nearby university.

They wait until noon before dispersing.


ISRAELI forces were inching deeper into Gaza City earlier tonight amid talks over a potential hostage deal.

It would see 12 captives — half of them American — freed in return for a three-day pause for aid trucks to enter via Egypt’s Rafah Crossing.

More than 240 were snatched during Hamas’s October 7 killing spree in which 1,400 Jews were murdered and 3,500 wounded.

A humanitarian pause is backed by Nato, but talks remain on a knife edge.

Israeli MP Almog Cohen insisted: “Want a temporary ceasefire?

“Bring back the kidnapped. Until then, we will break your bones, until you beg them back.”

So far, vast swathes of northern Gaza have been completely flattened by almost non-stop airstrikes.

Entire city blocks have been reduced to rubble and around 70 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3million people are estimated to have fled.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry claims 10,000 Palestinians have been killed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the number of civilians to die — including 92 UN staff — shows something is “clearly wrong” with Israel’s military operations.

But Israeli defence chiefs say their attacks have led to the number of terrorist missiles being fired across the border dropping “significantly” in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the second in command of Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah warned of a wider war in the Middle East.

Sheikh Naim Qassem told the BBC “very dangerous developments could occur in the region, and no-one would be able to stop the repercussions”.

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