Hamas has concluded a major military exercise meant to prepare for another war against Israel.
The exercise took place on Dec. 23 by the National Security Forces, headed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Maneuvers in the southern Gaza Strip included the storming of a mock Israel Army post as well as the Israeli security fence around the strip.
Hamas released a video of the mock attacks, which included the abduction of Israeli soldiers. One video, released on Dec. 27, showed Hamas troops,wearing body armor and firing mortars, carrying away the body of a dead Israeli.
The exercise marked Hamas efforts to rebuild its military in wake of the 50-day war with Israel in July and August 2014. Hamas has conducted officer training courses, rebuilding tunnel and bunkers as well as producing missiles.
“Publicizing the exercises and boasting of Hamas’ military capabilities are meant to deter Israel and show it that Hamas is returning to its former strength and will soon be fully operative,” the Israeli-financed Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said. “Hamas is also trying to raise the morale of the Gazans and its military terrorist operatives.”
In a report, the Israeli center said Hamas plans to attack Israel Army posts in the next war. The report said Hamas believes the exercise, commanded by NSF Gen. Hussein Adhra, was successful. ISF, designed for border security, has been deployed for military missions.
The exercise was conducted amid a Hamas financial crisis.
Officials acknowledged that thousands of troops have not been paid over the last few months.
“They will conduct every mission even when salaries are not paid,” NSF commander Gen. Jamal Al Jarrah said.