This summer, Operation Protective Edge put a dent in Hamas’ terror capabilities in Gaza. However, The Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Lappin reports that the terrorist group is quickly rebuilding its forces:
Hamas and allied terrorist organizations in Gaza have spent recent months intensively rebuilding their guerrilla terrorist capabilities, which sustained significant damage during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
“Their aim is to recover the military infrastructure that was damaged and return it to full capabilities and broaden it,” according to a recent report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Tel Aviv, which is a part of the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center, founded by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.
To that end, Hamas has allocated the necessary funds, personnel, and equipment, despite the shortages suffered by the civilian sector in the Strip, the study found. Its domestic security bodies are part of the effort.
“This stands out especially against the background of the ongoing delay in the civilian recovery of the Gaza Strip,” the report said, adding that it “illustrates well that, as in the past, Hamas’s priorities clearly lie in rebuilding military capabilities at the expense of civilian needs.”
Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the Terrorism and Intelligence Center, told The Jerusalem Post, “We see that when it comes to military programs, resources flow without a problem.
This is no coincidence. If their priority was in civilian reconstruction, would they allocate their few resources to offensive military programs?
Hamas in Gaza is using mass media to safeguard and strengthen support among the Gazan public for its military wing and to propagate the idea of “armed resistance,” while indoctrinating children and teenagers, the report’s authors said.
The center reported observing in recent months a large recruitment program of teenagers aged 15 to 21 and their deployment to training camps opened by Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades.
More than 17,000 youths trained in the camps, according to the report, undergoing basic military training, and then advanced training in kidnapping soldiers and tunnel warfare. They also underwent religious indoctrination.
The program is aimed at both replenishing the military wing’s ranks and support for Hamas among the Gazan population …
Hamas has begun to reconstruct its network of tunnels within Gaza, and Israel is watching out for any signs of cross-border attack tunnels as well, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in December.
Hamas’s domestic rocket production is rapidly replenishing the Islamist regime’s arsenal of projectiles.