Israeli Military Pounds Gaza, On YouTube

Khaled Wassef is an analyst and producer with the CBS News Internet terrorism monitoring team.

Video clips of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) strikes on Gaza have been posted on a special channel set up by the Israeli military on the famous video-sharing Web site, YouTube.

The channel — — was launched on Dec. 29, 2008, and has already attracted 4,122 subscribers. Twelve videos are on-show so far.

YouTube requires age verification if you want to see some of the clips that show missile strikes on human targets.

Some of the videos have already been censored, and then restored by YouTube.

"We were saddened on Dec. 30, 2008 when YouTube took down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF's (Israeli Defense Forces) operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip. Fortunately, due to blogger and viewer support, YouTube has returned the footage they removed," a message posted on the channel's page explained.


One clip which shows aerial video of an IAF attack on a Hamas Government Complex in Gaza garnered as many as 56,982 hits in just 24 hours.

Palestinian factions have long used the information superhighway, including YouTube, to spread their propaganda and take their message to a more global audience.

Earlier this year, Hamas even set up its own "AqsaTube" Web site, mainly featuring videos produced by the al-Qassam Brigades Palestinian militant group.


That site has recently been taken down. But In recent years, Qassam and al-Quds Brigades have posted dozens of their videos on popular video-sharing Web sites, the most recent one being a clip depicting Hamas rockets being fired at the city of al-Majdal, about 25 miles north of Gaza, just a couple days ago.

The IDF move to set up a channel on YouTube comes amid reports of heavy civilian casualties suggesting that the Israeli air strikes on Gaza may not be as "surgical" as claimed by the IAF.