Terror Academy Recruitment Video

A Hamas terror "academy" in Gaza taught, among other things, techniques for abducting IDF soldiers and the philosophy of an al-Qaeda ideologue.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz , | updated: 4:24 PM

From the Hamas recruitment video
From the Hamas recruitment video
Israel news photo: (IDF)

The IDF this week revealed a recruitment video produced by a Hamas terror "academy" in Gaza. The training included techniques for the abduction of IDF soldiers, a wide range of other terrorist activities, and the teachings of an al-Qaeda ideologue.

Training to kidnap an IDF soldier
IDF Spokesperson's Office

As publicized by the government-sponsored Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the hour-long video was discovered during Israel's counterterrorism operation in Gaza, Cast Lead, in 2008. Hamas produced and distributed the captured video in 2007 as a recruiting tool for a training academy it established the previous year, in an effort to improve its
The battle they are to wage is not only for the sake of Palestinians, but for Allah and the supremacy of Islam.
military capabilities.

According to the Hamas recruitment video and related material, terror trainees are instructed in such skills as preparing explosives, detonating charges, self-defense, wireless communications, first aid, VIP protection, deception and camouflage, as well as in training for specific missions. Among the latter were penetrating IDF positions and abducting Israeli soldiers.

Hamas Promotes Al-Qaeda Teachings
Course participants also received ideological and religious instruction expounding on the Islamic concept of jihad and the character of a Muslim jihadist. Hamas taught its academy recruits that the battle they are to wage is not only for the sake of Palestinians, but for Allah and the supremacy of Islam.

Among the source material and ideological underpinnings inculcated at the Hamas academy were the teachings of Abdullah Azzam, a mentor of al-Qaeda leaders Osama Bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. He is credited with visualizing a pan-Islamic jihad movement aimed at confronting the West, India, secular Arab regimes and Israel. Born in the British Mandate of Palestine, he was eventually assassinated in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1989.

Terror studies in a Hamas classroom
IDF Spokesperson's Office

A New Stage in Hamas Training
The first course of the Hamas academy, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Office, opened on November 29, 2006 and drew its students from among already active Hamas terrorist cells. The course lasted four months and included classroom studies as well as practical training. The premier course graduation ceremony, including a military-style demonstration, was attended by senior Hamas leaders in Gaza. Similar courses were apparently held in subsequent years.

Dummy IDF base for Hamas training
IDF Spokesperson's Office

In the analysis of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the establishment of the Hamas training academy towards the end of 2006 is part of a new stage in the Hamas physical and ideological training. It represents an attempt to formalize an establishment institution to reach its long-term goals. Until 2006, Hamas training inside Gaza was relatively rudimentary and took place sporadically; although far more serious training of Hamas terrorists took place in Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Since then, Hamas has been increasing its efforts to train as many of its members as possible in a professional and organized fashion, as part of a general military escalation in Gaza ever since Israel's 2005 Disengagement uprooted all Jewish civilian and military presence from the region.

Gaza's Online Jihadist Training
In the past, Hamas and other Palestinian Authority terrorist groups have released detailed training videos to the Arabic-speaking public over the Internet. Such Hamas training videos, which appeared online in 2002 and 2008, included lessons on 'practical jihad'. This included instruction in such things as weapons use, tactics, calculating rocket trajectories, making explosives, avoiding detection, and the like.

The Gaza-based jihadist organization known as Jund Ansar Allah, affiliated with al-Qaeda, has also produced online military-style instruction manuals and videos. These have been spread among jihadists worldwide and shared on known Islamist forums.