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Israel’s increasing concern about Hamas’s growing naval capabilities

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Israeli circles have demanded that a large-scale military naval operation be carried out in Gaza to respond to the growing military capabilities of Hamas, provided that it would surprise Hamas and exploit the soft belly of Gaza, specifically the western side of Gaza’s coast on the Mediterranean Sea.

I will discuss Israel’s warnings about Hamas’s growing naval capabilities, its readiness to confront them, the movement’s combative capabilities in the face of an Israeli maritime invasion, and Israel’s purposes for the marine operations.

Israeli reports are increasingly concerned about Hamas’ naval commando units, which have successfully developed strategic capabilities on the seafront. This is especially in the light of the lingering Israeli memories of Hamas’s infiltration of Zikim Beach, north of Gaza during the 2014 war.

Since the end of the war, Hamas has expanded its naval combat capabilities. It spent money on them and trained their fighters, and the Israeli army has not ignored this threat. It has begun a secret battle to thwart it, as its intelligence agencies know that Hamas is increasing its use of its naval capabilities. Therefore it is conducting intense field investigations, in coordination with various ground and naval army units, and showing more vigilance and caution along the beaches using maritime equipment.

Hamas considers its naval commando unit to be the elite unit and biggest amongst its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Therefore, its best fighters are chosen for these units, and they are divided into geographical groups distributed across Gaza and given various tasks under tight command.

Hamas’s human frogs range in age from 18 to 20 years old and undergo long and difficult rigorous military training. They belong to small units that train in dozens and are trained in diving and naval operations. They are very physically fit, capable of coordinating with other units, and are very brave.

The Hamas naval commando training and graduation ceremonies are covered by Palestinian social media and are closely monitored by the Israeli intelligence. Hamas has used the past years of the ceasefire to intensify its naval training, build its combative strength, and increase its naval capabilities.

Hamas divers’ training includes quick drills in the sea to carry high-quality explosions against Israeli naval vessels, operating ships carrying explosives with bombers and without, and moving from the sea to land and vice versa in organised cells. They are also trained to launch guided anti-tank missiles from the coast to the sea against ships and towards the heart of Israel.


© Middle East Monitor