Israel’s intelligence community has determined that Hamas was using its navy to attack the Jewish state.
The state-financed Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, deemed the open-source arm of the intelligence community, identified the Hamas naval police as a growing force in the war against Israel. The center said Hamas naval police officers come from the military wing of the regime that controls the Gaza Strip.
“The Coast Guard apparatus has been involved in anti-IDF [Israel Defense Forces] military activities unrelated to its naval police functions,” the center said.
On Nov. 14, the Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas Coast Guard police post in the northern part of Gaza City. The attack was said to have killed a Coast Guard officer and injured another four Palestinians.
“The recent Israeli Air Force strike on a Hamas police Coast Guard post illustrated the dual nature of the Palestinian security force operatives, many of whom also serve in Hamas’ military-terrorist wing,” the center said in a report on Nov. 21.
The center said the Hamas leadership has supported the Coast Guard, which also sought to patrol the Gaza coast. The maritime unit, established in 2007 and said to contain about 500 officers, included numerous operatives who serve in several Hamas security forces.
“Operatives belonging to the naval police guard and Hamas’ other security services often have double identities, manifesting the extensive cooperation between them and Hamas’ military-terrorist wing,” the report said.
But the United Nations has failed to identify Coast Guard operatives. In a 2009 report by a UN panel headed by Richard Goldstone, Hamas police and paramilitary operatives were identified as civilians killed by Israel.
The Coast Guard was said to use its outposts for attacks on Israel. The center said Coast Guard officers were assigned such operations as anti-aircraft fire, planting bombs, collecting intelligence and ambushing Israel Army units and logistics support. The Hamas naval force, equipped with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, also contains a suicide bomber unit.