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September 3, 2014 6:48 am

Hamas’ Military Wing Boasts of its Units and Weaponry

avatar by Steven Emerson

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Guns discovered by the IDF on a prayer rug in a basement prayer room of a mosque, protecting a secret tunnel. Photo: Screenshot / IDF.

Guns discovered by the IDF on a prayer rug in a basement prayer room of a mosque, protecting a secret tunnel. Photo: Screenshot / IDF.

The Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala published a report recently outlining the various units and capabilities of the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,’ Hamas’ military wing, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) . Portions of the report, translated by MEMRI, state that the Brigades, totalling approximately 30,000 terrorists, consists of six regiments, with roughly 5,000 fighters in each and encompassing five battalions.

The Infantry Unit is the largest contingent, comprising approximately 85% of the entire Al-Qassam Brigades. Tasked with maintaining internal stability and attacking Israeli soldiers head-on, the Infantry Unit boasts several types of advanced weapons, including the Kalashnikov 74, M-16 rifles, and a quarter of a million locally manufactured hand grenades.

The Special Unit is responsible for carrying out infiltration attacks in Israel and striking Israeli military bases. Its fighters represent the elite of the al-Qassam Brigades, possessing advanced and sophisticated weaponry, including sniper rifles, explosive charges, and night vision binoculars. Moreover, the Engineering Unit is tasked with tunnel excavations, constructing a vast underground network featuring tunnels dozens of kilometers long utilized for weapons storage, and for transferring supplies. Attack tunnels are also exploited for infiltrating and facilitating attacks within Israel.

According to the report, the Air Defense Unit was created less than seven years ago and possesses advanced shoulder-fired SA-7, SA-18, and SA-24 anti-aircraft missiles that are capable of shooting down airplanes. This unit also has British Javelin missiles with a range of 5.5 kilometres, threatening Israeli military jets and civilian aviation planes.

The Artillery Unit is tasked with manufacturing and launching missiles into Israeli civilian population centers, including multiple versions of the Qassam and Katusha rockets. This unit also possesses advanced Russian Grad rockets and locally manufactured M-75 rockets that have hit Tel Aviv. Moreover, the Artillery Unit is in charge of firing mortars into Israel; it inflicted casualties in the latest conflict.

Other units include Hamas’ Military Intelligence Unit, tasked with monitoring suspects and executing accused spies for Israel. During the war, Hamas summarily executed more than 20 alleged collaborators, some of whom were shot in the streets in front of public onlookers.

While the current cease-fire appears to be holding, Hamas is preparing for the next round of fighting and continues to manufacture rockets intended to target Israeli civilians.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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