Hamas Mobilizes 30,000 Terrorists for Two-Day Military Drill
Despite a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Hamas carried out a two-day, large-scale military drill in Gaza earlier this week featuring 30,000 terrorist operatives.
Terrorists from across Hamas’ military wing — including air, land, and sea units — participated in the military exercises, demonstrating the terrorist organization’s efforts to improve coordination among its various components.
Fighters practiced attacking armored vehicles simulating IDF tanks, while test-firing missiles into the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas also deployed drones, including one of Iran’s signature unmanned aerial vehicles.
Iran is actively enhancing its terrorist proxies’ capabilities, including drone arsenals for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, in order to improve their offensive operations. Hamas terrorists also practiced emerging from underground tunnels and kidnapping Israeli soldiers.
The drill took place days before Land Day, in anticipation of more Palestinian demonstrations across Israel. Hamas’ military maneuvers are intended to send signals to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority: that Hamas remains in control of Gaza and has the capacity to inflict considerable casualties against the Jewish state.
This latest development is further proof that Hamas is investing enormous amounts of resources into its military wing, prioritizing its terrorist capabilities over its own population’s needs.
Earlier this month, Hamas was caught stealing electricity from a Gaza power line intended for civilian use, amid reports of financial and humanitarian crises.
But a major, and overlooked, factor behind the Palestinian territory’s woes is Hamas itself. The terrorist organization often re-routes humanitarian goods and energy intended for Gaza’s civilians to fuel its militant ambitions.
The terrorist group, along with other Palestinian militant organizations, continues to invest heavily in offensive tunnels used for smuggling and to commit attacks inside Israel. Hamas also systematically exploits charities worldwide to finance its terrorist infrastructure at the expense of needy civilians.
Diverting international assistance and charitable donations helps fuel Hamas’ military build-up, including the latest two-day military drill. And, as usual, it comes at the expense of the Palestinian people.
Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.