A VIDEO purportedly showing Hamas operatives training to strike IDF posts..
(photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
Hamas is in the midst of an extensive training program simulating cross-border raids on IDF positions near the border with the Gaza Strip, the Tel-Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) said on Monday.
In its report, it noted that a Hamas internal security agency in the Gaza Strip held a drill in recent days simulating a cross-border raid into Israel, and an attack on an IDF post.
The December 23 exercise was part of an officer’s course, and took place in a training camp belonging to Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigade in southern Gaza.
Four days later, on December 27, the military wing released a video showing dozens of masked terrorists simulating an attack on IDF positions. One of the scenes showed a mock kidnapping of an IDF soldier, and another showed multiple “killings” of soldiers.
“These exercises are taking part in the context of efforts to repair the damage caused to the military infrastructure of terrorist organizations during Operation Protective Edge,” ITIC stated. The center is part of the Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, which was founded in the 1980s by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.
Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of ITIC, told The Jerusalem Post that this type of training is joined by Hamas’s periodic firing of rockets into the Mediterranean Sea and its attempt to rebuild its weapons infrastructure.
“What we are looking at here is a process of rehabilitating their military infrastructure,” he said. “This is in contrast to the slow pace of economic and civilian infrastructure repair, giving an indication of where Hamas’s priorities lie.”
Hamas’s decision to advertise its recent drills is aimed at “sending a deterrent message to Israel, that Hamas’s military capabilities are returning to full capacity,” the report said. “They are also aimed at boosting the morale of the Palestinian population, and the military operatives at home.”
ITIC estimated that attacks on IDF positions near Gaza yielded positive results from Hamas’s perspective during the summer war. The training sessions are aimed at improving future attacks by the Izzadin Kassam Brigade and affiliated bodies.
Such attacks will occur in the event that hostilities are renewed, ITIC added.
“Conquering IDF positions and killing officers and soldiers during the last conflict gave Hamas food for thought,” Erlich said. “They have decided that this is a modus operandi that has to be continued.
Against this background, they are training.”
Kidnapping a soldier and negotiating the release of Hamas prisoners remains a key Hamas goal, he added.
Hamas’s national security forces are designed to monitor Gaza’s borders and crossings, enabling them to assist the military wing’s smuggling efforts, and take direct part in smuggling of weapons and equipment on a number of occasions, according to ITIC.
The domestic forces cooperate very closely with Hamas’s military wing, the report said.
“The domestic security bodies have military-terrorist roles too,” said Erlich. “We have encountered the erasure of the line between in the past. When the IDF killed members of domestic security bodies, it also killed terrorists, because some of them had double identities.”
Members of the Hamas military wing also serve in domestic security forces. This, ITIC said, “enables Hamas to employ many military operatives in the security forces, to give them ‘legitimate’ government activity, and pay them salaries earmarked for security forces in Gaza.”