Hamas naval police (illustration)
Hamas naval police (illustration)Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

Israel just last Friday eased shipping limitations for Gaza despite the threat of weapons smuggling, and the very same day a senior Hamas head threatened naval commando attacks against Israel from the sea.

The Gaza fishermen's union last Friday announced Israel had promised to extend the distance off the southern Gaza coast that Gazan fishermen can sail from six to nine nautical miles, with the change set to come into effect on Sunday.

But during his Friday sermon, Ahmed Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and a senior leader of Hamas, threatened attacks from the Mediterranean Sea targeting Israel.

In his sermon at the Al-Khalidi Mosque in Gaza, which was published by the Hamas paper Palestine on Saturday, Bahar said that the naval forces of the Palestinian "resistance" organizations, and in particular the naval commandos of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, would set new rules of engagement in the next war against Israel.

He said that they would not allow Israel's naval blockade on Gaza to continue. The blockade, which is legal according to international law, is meant to prevent the influx of weapons to the local terror organizations.

Bahar said that the path of the "struggle," namely terrorism, is the only way and the shortest path to liberate "Palestine." He said the "occupation" only understands force, and the next clash will be "a campaign of liberating Al-Quds (Jerusalem - ed.) and Al-Aqsa (Mosque)."

Hamas has already waged three terror wars against Israel since violently seizing power in Gaza in 2007, and suffered serious losses in each campaign even as it continues to work on building its rocket arsenal and digging its terror tunnel network.

In the last 15 years, Hamas has invested in developing the naval wing of its terrorist forces, and has even conducted suicide bombings using boats targeting vessels of the Israeli navy.

It has likewise launched explosive barrels at Israeli coasts, and sent cells of divers to conduct terror attacks in Israel, although such attempts during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2015 were quickly thwarted by the IDF.