7-31-14 9:52 AM EST: From this morning, our time. The Times of Israel has a very interesting article about Hamas, and how they operate. The numbers and types of "fighters" they have, the weapons used, and the methods by which they are used. Booby-trapped homes, tunnels etc.
The full story of the subterranean passages, thousands of foot soldiers, and large supplies of rockets and bombs, that turned Hamas into a sophisticated enemy (BY ELHANAN MILLER July 31, 2014)
Since its establishment in 1987 as the Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the goal of establishing an Islamic state to replace Israel, Hamas has significantly grown in political and military power, but especially since wresting control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 from the Palestinian Authority.
In the interim period between Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012 — the previous military operation in Gaza, aimed at eliminating the threat of rockets launched into Israel — and the current Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has focused on its capacity building, procuring and manufacturing long-range missiles and investing millions in the construction of tunnels into Israel to enable the kidnapping of soldiers and civilians.
Here are answers to some basic questions regarding Hamas’s capabilities, as revealed throughout Operation Protective Edge which began on July 8.
How many fighters does Hamas have?
Hamas entered the operation with an estimated 15,000 active fighters, including men in supportive positions. It is said the IDF believes it has killed over 1,000 Hamas fighters (which would suggest that the 1,360 total Gaza fatalities cited by Gazan health sources is inaccurate), though the true figure is likely lower. The IDF is destroying or significantly harming Hamas’s combat units in Beit Hanoun and Shejaiya in the northern Gaza Strip and Khan Younis in the south.
What weapons are they using against the IDF?
Very little face-to-face fighting is taking place in Gaza. Mimicking the tactics used by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas heavily relies on two types of weaponry: anti-tank missiles and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The anti-tank weapon of choice is the Russian shoulder-launched RPG-29, and is used against infantry troops and armored vehicles. This was the weapon used by Hamas fighters who infiltrated Israel and attacked an IDF post near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Monday, killing five soldiers. It was also used against an army jeep near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha on July 19, killing two soldiers.
Inside Gaza, Hamas has booby-trapped hundreds of homes and installations with improvised bombs. One such IED killed three Israeli soldiers on Wednesday in a building labeled as an UNRWA clinic in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, where IDF soldiers were searching for a tunnel shaft. IDF’s Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, told journalists that in one Khan Younis street he encountered, 19 of the 28 homes were booby-trapped, ready to explode over IDF soldiers who enter them.
The IDF says it was...