January 3, 2014. Hamas is increasingly using sensitive civilian facilities in Gaza to protect its military assets from being targeted by Israel, ahead of a further round of conflict. It is also digging dozens of ‘terror tunnels’ into Israel, The Times of Israel has learned.
Gaza’s Islamist rulers have been placing rocket launching pads next to water reservoirs, and attaching reconnaissance cameras to mosque minarets and water towers, The Times of Israel was told, in a bid to avoid IAF airstrikes during an upcoming round of confrontation.
The IDF has noticed a recent shift in Hamas’s strategy: While actively preventing rocket launches toward Israel by rogue groups in the Gaza Strip, the Islamist organization — which violently took control of the territory in 2007 and has ruled it ever since — is investing its limited resources digging tunnels leading into Israel for the purposes of a large-scale terror attack or a kidnapping modeled after that of Gilad Shalit in June 2006. At the same time, Hamas still maintains a large number of locally manufactured M-75 rockets, which can reach Tel Aviv and beyond.
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The GMBDW reported last week that the Hamas government in Gaza had celebrated the graduation of paramilitary camps encouraging high school students to “follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs” and to prepare for a future war with Israel. We also reported earlier on what was described the “rapprochement” between Hamas and Iran following a three year breach as well as on the continuing decline of relations between Hamas and Egypt.
The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations. A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman revealed that a coalition of London-based Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were behind the mass demonstrations staged to protest Israeli actions in the 2008 Gaza war and the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish affiliates were also intimately involved, along with the Turkish government, in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. Following a period of seeming ascension related to the period of Egyptian rule by the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization was forced to scramble to try and find other state sponsors after Mohamed Morsi was deposed as President. In September 2013, it appeared that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran. In January 2013, Israeli intelligence sources claimed that Turkey has replaced Iran as the chief source of Hamas financing.