A donkey strapped with explosives was deployed against Israeli troops on Friday evening during the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. Things didn't end well for the animal.
Israeli soldiers were suspicious of the lone donkey as it approached their position, and soon came to see it was carrying a bomb. According to the Israel Defense Forces blog
, "The soldiers opened fire, causing the explosives to detonate."
No human injuries were reported, however the donkey was killed instantly.
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The tactic, which the IDF called "despicable," is not new, and has been used by Hamas and other Palestinian factions as far back as 1995. In June of that year, a Palestinian suicide bomber rode a donkey cart full of explosives toward an IDF post west of Khan Yunis. He detonated the explosives, killing himself and the donkey. No IDF troops were injured in the blast. Hamas later claimed responsibility for the failed attack.
Israeli military officials said the tactic is not dissimilar to Hamas' use of "human shields" to protect missiles and other critical military apparatus.
"They used this donkey as a human shield, or an animal shield, if you like," Major Arye Shalicar, an army spokesman, told The Telegraph (UK)
"Anything, an animal or an international building, that can help make use of innocent people or international [citizens], they will use it. We see it time and again."
Donkeys are plentiful in Gaza, and as the IDF has begun ground operations in the area, many Palestinians have used them to move their possessions away from conflict zones.
IDF reported that other donkey-assisted attacks have occurred in 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2010. The 2009 attack also involved horses, several of which were carrying mines and other explosives.
Many IDF soldiers, as well as American soldiers in Iraq, have also reported that dogs — both alive and dead — have been used in bombing attempts, sometimes strapped with explosives, and other times with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) surgically implanted in their bellies.
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