El Mundo, a major Spanish daily, claimed that Israel hired mercenaries to kill Palestinians, which was supported by the testimony of Pedro Diaz Flores, who was in the ranks of Ukraine’s notorious neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.
Following Hamas’ unexpected strikes in southern Israel on October 7, the IDF called up 360,000 reservists. 30,000–40,000 Hamas fighters, who are locked up in the tunnels and city ruins of Gaza in preparation for ground attacks, are facing off against them.
In the midst of the Gaza conflict, foreign fighters have poured into Israel to support the Israeli Defence Forces. This is supported by a shocking piece that was released late last week in a significant Spanish newspaper and that included testimony from a notorious merc.
“We are in charge of security at checkpoints and access control points at the border between Gaza and Jordan. There are many PMCs [private military contractors, ed.] here and they share in the work. Typically, they have guarded border terminals between Eliat and Aqaba,” Pedro Diaz Flores, a Spanish national who previously fought as a merc in the ranks of Ukraine’s notorious neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, told the paper.
“They pay very well, they offer good equipment and the work is calm,” Flores added, saying he came to Israel for the money. “It’s 3,900 euros per week, not counting additional missions.”
The fighter stressed that so far, apart from border security missions, foreign fighters have been tasked only with “providing security support to arms convoys or troops,” and do not “fight Hamas directly” or take part in assault operations in Gaza.
A Spanish publication has questioned the veracity of Flores’ account, charging him of manipulating images of his “work” in Israel. The Israeli military has “no knowledge of this case,” an IDF spokesman confirmed.
Subscribe to GreatGameIndia
The merc has also deleted his social media accounts, which included pictures of his purported adventures in Israel.
Whether true or not, Flores’ assertions add to a plethora of conjecture that has surfaced on social media in the last month concerning the purported relocation of hardened combatants from Ukraine to the Middle East conflict, where the pay appears to be higher and living circumstances more hospitable.
A recent investigation by Sputnik revealed that foreign mercenaries operating in Ukraine earn between 750 and 3,000 euros a month, frequently have to purchase their own gear, and fight against the regular Russian Army, which has better aviation, artillery, and intelligence capabilities compared to Hamas, which is primarily armed with small guns. In recent months, as casualties increase and conditions worsen, mercenaries in Ukraine have reportedly begun turning on one another over money and trivial personal disputes. They have also reported witnessing horrendous casualties within their ranks.
Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, provided an update stating that Israeli troops have trapped Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in a bunker.
Israel has promised that it can manage the Hamas battle on its own. In a similar vein, Washington emphasised last month that “the Israelis have made…very clear that they don’t want foreign troops on their soil” and that direct US combat support for Israel was “off the table.” Last Monday, Washington reaffirmed its position, promising that the extra US forces stationed in the Middle East “will not go to Israel.”
These claims have been refuted by Palestinians, who claim that the US has placed troops in Gaza in addition to providing Israel with military support. The US and Israeli special operations soldiers tried a coordinated incursion into Gaza last month in an attempt to release captives, but they were completely destroyed “and took heavy losses.”