REPORT: Hamas building second front against Israel on Lebanese border, already firing rockets at Israel
The Alma Research and Education Center,an Israeli think tank that specializes in security threats on the northern border, released a report this week outlining the true scope of Hamas’s military activities in Lebanon, indicating that the terrorist rulers in Gaza are building a second front from which to attack Israel.
The report identified the principal senior political and military Hamas leaders active on Lebanese territory, the organization’s multiple military projects, and working plans. It also identified the locations of some of Hamas’s key Lebanese military sites.
The report also analyzed Hamas’s complex relationship with the Iranian-led radical Shi’ite axis.
The report detailed how Hamas’s two operational units in Lebanon – El-Shimali and Khaled Ali recruit members, train them in specialized combat skills such as sniping, anti-tank missile attacks, operating drones, and more. The units also develop and produce their own weapons – rockets, offensive drones, and small unmanned underwater vehicles. And they set up operational cells while preparing attack plans against Israel.
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The two branches are guided by Hamas’s ‘Construction Bureau,’ based in Lebanon and Turkey, which influences Hamas activity in Gaza, Lebanon, and Judea and Samaria. the Construction Bureau operates covertly out of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, concealed from both Hezbollah and the Lebanese government. According to the report, the two units develop and manufacture weapons in Lebanon including rockets, drones, and small unmanned submarines. In addition, the two sections of the Construction Bureau recruit and train would-be terrorists in specialized courses such as sniping, operating anti-tank missile launchers, drone operators, urban warfare, aeronautics, naval diving, and tactical intelligence collection.
It is believed that Saleh al-Arouri , the deputy head of the Hamas’ political bureau In Lebanon who is responsible for terror attacks in Judea and Samaria was behind the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in 2014, which preceded the IDF incursion into Gaza.
One of Hamas’ leaders in Lebanon,
Hamas activity in Lebanon is ultimately directed by the Iranian Quds force. This creates a broad threat as Hezbollah was established as part of an Iranian effort, through funding and the dispatch of a core group of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (pasdaran) instructors, as an anti-Israel entity on Israel’s northern border. Iran also supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in his civil war.
Proof of Hamas activity in Lebanon came in the form of five incidents of Grad rockets fired from Lebanon against Israel between May and August. According to the report, at least some of the rocket attacks were launched without the knowledge or consent of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that represents fully one-third of the Lebanese Parliament. The Alma report concluded that this indicated a developing rift between Hamas and Hezbollah. The report claimed that as a response to Hamas firing rockets at Israel from Lebanon, Hezbollah was forced to follow suit.
“[This] actually forced Hezbollah to join the rocket fire and in our assessment doing so without genuinely desiring to,” read the report. “[This] has the potential of creating a severely difficult challenge for Hezbollah. Hamas pursues its own interests in Lebanon, including not informing Hezbollah ahead of time when Hamas fires rockets into Israel – a pattern that could drag Hezbollah into a war with Israel, against Hezbollah’s own interests.”
Alma noted that Hezbollah views itself as the dominant force in Lebanon and tolerates Hamas as “guests”. “Based on the intensification and independent military operations carried out by Hamas from Lebanon, Hamas does not appear to see itself as ‘just a guest’ in Lebanon.\,” the report concluded.
“Hamas’s constant force build-up in Lebanon has the potential of creating a severely difficult challenge for Hezbollah. Hamas pursues its own interests in Lebanon, including not informing Hezbollah ahead of time when the Hamas fires rockets into Israel – a pattern that could drag Hezbollah into a war with Israel, against Hezbollah own interests,” the report stated. “For Israel, the time has come to stop viewing Hamas as separate Gazan and Lebanese entities and to view the organization as a single return address for any necessary future retaliation for Hamas aggression. Precise Israeli action against Hamas in Lebanon actually matches Hezbollah’s interests.”
The report came to a powerful conclusion, recommending a course of action for the Israeli defense establishment:
“Israel should ‘think outside the box’ and act openly against Hamas targets in Lebanon if Hamas attacks from the Gaza Strip and vice versa.”