IDF official reports on Hamas rearmament
Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, has since its summer 2014 conflict with Israel increased the ranks of its elite commando unit, a senior Israeli military official told journalists on Thursday.
The source said that the organization has yet to replenish its rocket arsenal, suffers from a lack of weapons supplies and raw materials, and that there is a widening rift between Hamas’s political and military branches.
He said that Hamas was deterred by the summer 2014 conflict and is suffering from isolation, as Iran wants it to publicly support its fighting in Syria, while the Egyptian government sees it as part and parcel with the hated Muslim Brotherhood.
The official also said that Hamas is working to maintain the ceasefire with Israel and prevent attacks originating in Gaza, including firing of rockets.
But he also reported that the organization’s military wing has become its dominant force as it claims that the political wing was overly restrictive during the last war with Israel.
According to the IDF, Hamas has been intensively training its elite Nukhba unit, tasked with sensitive missions such as surprise strategic attacks. The unit has grown since the summer of 2014 and today its strength stands at some 5,000 out of 20,000 Hamas terrorists.
Hamas is also reportedly investing more in its naval commando force and has expanded the ranks of its divers. The group is also said to be investing and developing drones with Iranian funding and know-how.
As for the organization’s rocket arsenal, Hamas lacks raw materials for production, mainly because of the Egyptian military’s crackdown on smuggling tunnels.
Hamas is also developing mortars and short-range rockets with larger warheads than before. In summer 2014, short-range projectiles were more effective at inflicting Israeli casualties than other types.
In addition, the Israeli military was said to have observed ongoing attempts by Hamas to create cells in other areas, such as Lebanon and the Sinai, to attack Israel during wartime.
The source told that the IDF has a plan to defeat Hamas’s military wing in a conflict and that the intent is to erode it to the condition it was in years ago. He added that the IDF has not identified an alternative to Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.
Senior Hamas terrorist Ismail Haniyeh said in a January speech that Hamas is constructing new tunnels and conducting rocket tests aimed at improving its arsenal.