Intelligence Report: Social media new battleground in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

November 14, 2012 (CHICAGO)

It wasn't exactly a sneak attack Wednesday when Israel Defense Forces began an assault on Palestinian military positions in Gaza. The Israelis announced it on Twitter and even branded the mission with its own hashtag: #PillarOfDefense.

And so began the Twitter war, with the official Israeli Defense Forces website firing 140-characters a minute at the al-Qassam Brigade, which is the military division of the Hamas government.

The Twitter war escalated quickly when a video was posted by the Israelis of a drone attack on a car carrying Hamas's top military commander. The crucial Palestinian leader was taken out in a ball of fire.

In near real time, the Israelis' tweeted this: "The first target, hit minutes ago, was Ahmed al-Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing." To which the other side replied: "al-Qassam mourns the death of its top leader Ahmed Jabari who has been assassinated by drones in Gaza."

The Israeli Defense Forces posted a blood-red picture of the Hamas commander who was "eliminated" in the drone attack.

Since then, the Twitter volleys have continued, Hamas stating, "The assassination of their great leader is the beginning of liberation war and ominous harbinger on sons of Zion."

Israeli Defense Forces fired back: "We recommend no Hamas operatives whether low level or senior, show their faces above ground in the days ahead."

Finally, late Wednesday afternoon, Hamas claimed its brigades shelled Tel Aviv for the first time. That is unconfirmed.

And the Israelis warned: "All options are on the table. if Necessary Israeli Defense Forces is ready to initiate a ground operation in Gaza."

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