Hamas Army Preparing for New War
The defacto Hamas government in Gaza is re-training its army and changing its tactics in preparation for what it believes will be another war with Israel, according to Strategypage.com. Iran and Hizbullah are advising Hamas on how to overcome its failures against Israel in the IDFs Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign earlier this year.
Hamas tactics in the war backfired. It told its fighters to dress in civilian clothes as a ploy to raise civilian casualties, but the IDF surprised it by pinpointing its attacks and warning civilians to leave areas before they were bombed.
Hamas has used the ceasefire, which Israel declared on condition that international monitors would be positioned along the Egyptian border to stop smuggling, to bring in advanced weapons through new tunnels that have been built. Two Arab smugglers or workers were killed Thursday morning in a tunnel collapse underneath the border at Rafiah.
The Hamas army now includes anti-aircraft missiles that have been provided by Iran. Israel Air Force planes were equipped with devices to deflect anti-aircraft missiles during Operation Cast Lead, but the newly-smuggled weapons are more advanced.
During the next war, Hamas’s army will remain in uniform and will use hit-and-run tactics instead of directly engaging Israeli troops.
Hamas has dismissed 40 commanders of its forces, which it is re-building with more discipline. It also is developing improved communications systems to protect senior leaders, many of whom were targeted by Israel.
One tactic that worked to a certain extent was the deployment of its army in schools and hospitals, which also were used as weapons depots, forcing the IDF to delay attacking unless it could be proven beyond a doubt that the facilities no longer were functioning for civilian purposes.