Gaza: An exclusive look into the roles of al-Qassam Brigades and Islamic Jihad

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A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows rockets being fired from the Gaza strip into Israel, on July 12, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Jack Guez)

By: Ahmed Hadi

Published Monday, July 14, 2014

In war, those who fight are safe and civilians die but not because the Resistance is using them as human shields, like Israel claims as it lobs bombs directly at civilians. The real reason is that the Resistance is now fighting from underground and with a high level of coordination, out of sight of the Israelis, leading to a reduced number of martyrs from the armed factions.

Gaza – Unlike previous wars, the Palestinian Resistance has kept out of sight. On the streets of Gaza, gunmen wearing military uniforms and carrying walkie talkies were completely absent. This strategy was adopted in the 2012 war. Targets related to the Resistance, such as rocket launch sites and arms depots, were kept hidden from intelligence services at the Israeli Defense Ministry, who were busy working on delivering a forceful blow to the [Resistance] factions.

On the ground, a clear division of tasks is apparent among the military wings battling Israel on more than one level. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are firing mid-range rockets deep inside Israel, under two different titles: al-Asf al-Maakoul and al-Bunyan al-Marsous. The other brigades and armed groups are responsible for providing them cover with short-range mortar shells on the perimeter of Gaza, as well as monitoring the movement of the occupation on the borders.

The security situation prevented Hamas and Islamic Jihad from forming a joint operations room to unify their plan for confrontation. However, several armed factions maintained that indirect coordination did not have a big impact on Resistance operations.

The Resistance is resorting to new strategies in dealing with the Israeli forces, according to a field commander in al-Qassam Brigades. The strategy uses tunnels as the main option for launching rockets, which had been placed there based on previous geographical data. "This is in addition to reliance on a heavy barrage of rockets in each launching operation, to ensure that the launcher's load has been emptied completely. Israeli raids on them become pointless after the mission is completed."

The field commander explained to Al-Akhbar that the rockets are launched using a timer, "which means the fighters do not have to remain close." He maintained this reduced the number of casualties among Resistance fighters, in reference to the absence of news on preventing launchings or martyrs in this regard, like in previous wars.

As for coordination among different factions, the Qassam commander said they are in constant coordination with Islamic Jihad's Saraya al-Quds (al-Quds Brigades) on long-range bombardment and mentioned that the other factions assumed the role of launching Grad and short-range rockets on settlements around Gaza.

In the meantime, a senior military source in the Saraya revealed that they are completely dependent on the rocket units on the ground. "This is in addition to the surveillance units deployed on the outskirts of Gaza, equipped with night vision goggles and sensitive cameras, to watch out for sea or land commandos, especially in al-Shujaiya to the east and Beit Hanoun to the north."

The source indicated the presence of high level coordination between the leaders of al-Quds Brigades and al-Qassam Brigades, to identify a target bank and the regions inside Israel to be put under fire. He stressed that there is enough stockpile of rockets for a long confrontation, despite the occupation's attempts at bombing locations thought to be rocket warehouses.

It is also worth mentioning that both groups have a good stockpile of medium-range rockets, as a result of an accumulated experience in manufacturing them, in addition to the military training they both received in Syria and Iran. The other groups, however, are only equipped with short-range mortar shells.

The two military wings also created special ground and marine forces. They made an appearance in the major clash on Saturday, which took place on the beach north of the Strip (al-Sudaniya region) and lasted for two and a half hours. The battle started with the involvement of al-Qassam Brigades. However, al-Quds Brigades soon announced that some of its units were then deployed to provide support.

In a televised statement, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zahri indicated that his movement supported Islamic Jihad's calls for a nation-wide Palestinian meeting. He also stressed the presence of major coordination between resistance wings on the fields and "their long-term capacity to confront aggressions." The two movements also had identical positions on the media leaks in Hebrew media, speaking about mediations and the conditions of an expected truce.

Abu Mujahed, Popular Resistance Committees spokesperson, agreed that the Resistance was able to confuse the enemy with its new strategy for confrontation. "The Resistance has done very well until now and there are other surprises awaiting the occupation," he explained. He commended the coordination among the military wings on the ground, although he believes that coordination will automatically lead to a joint operations room in the event of a ground invasion by Israel.

"There is a difference between a ground war and an aerial war. In case of heavy air raids, the Resistance will be limited to rockets, which perform in a certain manner and are turned in a previously agreed direction," Abu Mujahed explained. He added that "in a ground war, there is a direct confrontation of various fronts, which require high level coordination. This needs a joint operations room."

Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot published a report maintaining that Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and other factions have dug secret tunnels, "whose locations and targets are difficult to identify by military airplanes." It concluded that "the only option left for the army is to conduct a ground operation to achieve the goals of Benjamin Netanyahu's government." However, the newspaper explained that "a ground war requires several preparations, most notably, how to get out of the Strip after the incursion."

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Sami has completely missed the point. As in all other asymmetrical conflicts, such as those conducted by the resistance in WWII and by the ANC in apartheid South Africa, no-one expects military parity between Palestinians and the Zionist forces. Success in such conflicts is not measured in how many targets have been hit, but in how well the weaker party manages to continue to resist in the face of overwhelmingly disproportionate odds.

The state of Israel knows, as it did during its last war on Lebanon, that while it can always inflict the greatest death and destruction on a population, it cannot bring peace and stability to its own people through militaray means. As is becoming more apparent by the day, the assault on Gaza can only highlight the injustice of its position, and bring ever greater opposition from the true international community (i.e. the world's people, not it's corrupt politicians and diplomats).

So, while the billions of dollars of weaponry is bound to destroy civil society in the Gaza Strip, and may perhaps even weaken specific groups in the long term, and while the military commanders can sit safely out of reach, the resistance will always succeed, because in Palestine, to brutalise and destroy is to lose, and to resist is to win.

Yes, this will end in a super victory for the 'resistance', by showing a lot of dead children (mostly child soldiers) to the world.
continue the good work, antisemite bastards!

Thank you Al Akbar for this incredible reporting about this very effective strategy that has not killed a single Israeli...anywhere during this entire war. Lol! This must be the most pathetic performance in the history of human warfare. Please keep up the good work! These Islamic fanatics using Iranian and Syrian weapons really know how to lose.... In a big way.. They should examine their tactics and bravery of hiding in tunnels as a study in how to lose a war and innocent civilians.


Sami boy: you are very provocative. And very ignorant. Do not forget that the Gazans fighting far more bravely than you did against your ideological role models the Nazis.

The filthy zionist scum cannot wrap his small brain around reality . When Al Qassam mock your terrorist IOF to invade Gaza and the coward scum do nothing but murder families and children in realitation you are not winning. Like in Lebanon Golani brigade terrorist were sent running like the coward bullies they are in their invasion attempts. The Intifiada is coming and as they say in english the third time is the charm. You should take a swimming class youll need it ;)

dear sami, you should not forget great history of french military failures:
even hamas can't beat this

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