Thursday, 19 September 2019 04:59 GMT

Gaza resistance more sophisticated since war: Analysts

(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Analysts say that Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups have become more sophisticated in the one year since Israel's "Operation Protective Edge," in which more than 2,160 Palestinians € mostly civilians € were killed and vast swathes of infrastructure destroyed.

"The resistance in Gaza appears more sophisticated and organized one year since the war," Abdel-Sattar Qassem, a professor of political science at Palestine's Birzeit University, said.

"Despite the losses inflicted by last year's Israeli offensive and the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip [by Israel and Egypt], Gaza-based resistance groups have continued to prepare for the next conflict," he added.

Qassem went on to note that the Palestinian resistance in general € and the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades in particular € "is effectively working to develop new military tactics and capabilities."

The Al-Qassam Brigades is the armed wing of Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, which took over the strip in mid-2007 after sweeping legislative elections one year earlier.

Better rockets

Earlier this month, Hamas unveiled two new locally-manufactured rockets, which, it vowed, would be deployed in any future confrontation with the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

"These rockets' effectiveness will become apparent in the future," Al-Qassam spokesman Abu Obaida said at a military parade in Gaza City held to mark the passage of one year since the beginning of Israel's 51-day onslaught against Gaza.

Since Al-Qassam first began manufacturing rockets in 2001, he added, "We have gradually expanded their range, which now stands at more than 80 kilometers."

A major Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip in late 2012 (during which scores of Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed) saw Hamas introduce its M75-class rocket.

And during last year's "Protective Edge" offensive, the resistance group introduced its R160-class rocket (with which it managed to strike the Israeli city of Haifa) and its J80-class rocket (which reached as far as Tel Aviv).

According to the Israeli army, Al-Qassam continues to conduct missile tests along the Mediterranean coast on an almost daily basis.

Notably, in the first weeks of last year's conflict, Al-Qassam also announced that its engineers had built three different kinds of unmanned aerial drone capable of carrying out missions inside Israeli territory.

Israel concerned

According to Antoine Shalhat, an Israeli-Arab expert on Israeli affairs, the self-proclaimed Jewish state is deeply concerned by the ongoing development of the military capabilities of Gaza-based resistance groups.

"The Palestinian resistance has proven its ability to hurt Israel € militarily, politically and economically," Shalhat told Anadolu Agency.

"The range and accuracy of the rockets being developed by Hamas, along with the efficacy of the group's cross-border tunnels [used to strike targets inside Israeli territory], have all seen considerable qualitative progress," he said.

Recent comments by Israeli military officials, meanwhile, appear to bear out these assertions.

Col. Nuhi Mendel, deputy commander of Israel's Gaza Unit, was recently quoted as saying that Hamas had begun reconstituting its military infrastructure as soon as last year's conflicted had ended.

"Until now, Hamas has continued to dig [cross-border] tunnels," Mendel said in a recent interview with Israeli Public Radio. "Since the end of the operation [last year], Hamas has been restoring its infrastructure and rebuilding what was damaged."

Al-Qassam, for its part, recently announced that, since last year, it had set up a number of military sites adjacent to the Gaza Strip's border with Israel.


"The performance of the Palestinian resistance in the last war wasn't expected; it was a miscalculation by the Israeli military," Walid Almodallal, head of the Gaza City-based Center for Political and Development Studies, said. "The resistance is well aware that the next battle with Israel must be totally different in terms of the weapons deployed."

Gaza resistance more sophisticated since war: Analysts

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