In the early hours of July 21, IDF forces captured a Hamas cell commander in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza. When questioned by the ISA (Israel Security Agency — also known as the Shin Bet Security Service), the cell commander revealed that he had been sent by Hamas leadership to Malaysia for paragliding training. The plan was to parachute into Israel to kidnap and murder civilians.
The prisoner also revealed Hamas plans to ambush Israeli soldiers with anti-tank missiles and even pointed to a terrorist sniper nest on a map of Gaza. The location: the tenth floor of the Palestinian Red Crescent building in Khan Yunis.
Training to be a terrorist
After being recruited into Hamas’ military wing in 2007, the terrorist underwent regular combat training. Every five months he would attend refresher courses which involved training with Kalashnikov automatic rifles, Soviet-made PKC machine guns and locally manufactured hand grenades.
In 2010, the prisoner was enlisted into a special force sent to Malaysia for parachute training, in preparation for a cross-border kidnapping attack on Israel. He and ten other terrorists from across Gaza spent a week receiving training in Malaysia.
After returning to Gaza, the cell was given additional weapons training. They were warned to maintain secrecy, and not to reveal details of their Malaysian training to anyone.
Preparing the attack
In 2014, four years after being sent to Malaysia, the Hamas commando squad was summoned for more parachute training. This time the training took place inside the Gaza Strip. According to the prisoner, the squad was not told about where the kidnapping attack would take place.
The prisoner told investigators about a Hamas training camp that took place in June of this year. Exercises involved training with handguns, Kalashnikovs, M-16s, RPGs, machine guns and demolitions training. Terrorists who attended the camp were trained in various methods for kidnapping soldiers and how to operate inside Hamas’ extensive tunnel network. The prisoner was meant to attend such a course after Ramadan (late July). Ultimately, he was arrested by IDF soldiers operating in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
The details of the ISA investigation reveal the great efforts and resources that Hamas invested in bolstering its military capabilities including the building and training of a standing commando army to attack and kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Hamas goes to incredible lengths to carry out attacks against Israel. That is why the IDF will not rest in its mission to dismantle the organization’s terrorist infrastructure and keep the people of Israel safe.
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