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Hamas 'Policemen' Train to Attack IDF Positions

Public drill sees Gazan police looking more like a military attack force, illustrates motivation to abduct IDF soldiers.
By Dalit Halevi and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 4/22/2014, 10:22 PM

Hamas police in Gaza (file)
Hamas police in Gaza (file)
Flash 90

Hamas' police force in the Gaza Strip chose a rather strange way of exhibiting its skills at "keeping the peace" earlier this week, as policemen in military fatigues took part in a public drill simulating the seizure and destruction of an IDF lookout tower.

Tens of armed fighters wielding assault weapons took part in the drill, which also included RPG fire in support of the attack force.

Upon reaching the "outpost", the Hamas gunmen stormed it using live-fire from two positions, after which the force planted and detonated a series of explosive devices, destroying the site.

A message at the end of the video explained that the simulation was the conclusion of the training course for the "Battalion of Freedom for the Prisoners" - a somewhat unusual title for a police unit.

The simulation was the latest example of Hamas' desire to kidnap Israeli soldiers, alive or dead, to barter for the release of imprisoned terrorists - particularly following the Schalit deal in 2011, which saw over 1,000 terrorists released in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit and whetted the Islamist group's appetite for similar operations.

Since then Israeli security forces have thwarted dozen of attempts to kidnap IDF soldiers by Gaza-based terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Gaza's "police force" is part of a network of internal security forces run by Hamas' Interior Ministry. It is notable that it is paid out of the coffers of the Palestinian Authority, with around 48% of the PA's budget - almost all of which comes from foreign aid - being transferred to pay employees of the Islamist regime in Gaza.