Over the past two weeks, Hamas has created a new unit called, “The Night-time Deployment Unit.”
The purpose of the unit is to strike against IDF soldiers deployed on the Gaza border during the night and to break the routine of incidents on the border ending in the evening hours or on only one day of the week.
The unit has already started taking action by attempting to breach the border fences, launching incendiary balloons toward the Israeli communities close to Gaza, tossing explosives, placing IEDs, burning tires, and activating sirens.
The establishment of the new unit is part of Hamas’ strategic decision to ramp up again the incidents on the border following the failure to secure a calm through the Egyptian-sponsored negotiations. The tactic is part of the strategy to pressure Israel to remove the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
As part of this operation, Hamas has also established a new “Return Camp” in northern Gaza adjacent to the Israeli border on the beach near the Israeli Kibbutz of Zikim – in addition to the five existing refugee camps. While demonstrations have taken place near the existing camps every Friday, Hamas seeks to create new points of friction with IDF forces – such as a weekly protest flotilla every Monday or demonstrations on Tuesday.
Senior Hamas Political Bureau official, Fathi Hamad, stated last weekend, “If the embargo is not removed this week, we will reveal new fighting methods and demonstrate new progress on land, sea, and, Allah willing, also in the air.”
Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. He served as Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.