June 18, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Terror groups in Gaza compete with Hamas to carry out attacks on Israel

These groups worked together in Gaza and had their eyes on the post-war period. Now, these groups are filling the breach and the vacuum.
June 18, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Terror groups in Gaza compete with Hamas to carry out attacks on Israel

These groups worked together in Gaza and had their eyes on the post-war period. Now, these groups are filling the breach and the vacuum.

Hamas continues its attacks on the IDF in Gaza eight and a half months into the war. Increasingly, several other terror groups in Gaza are also seeking to carry out daily attacks on Israeli forces.

This is clear from claims made by the groups to pro-Iranian media. For instance, on June 18, an article at Al-Mayadeen lists six terrorist groups, in addition to Hamas, that have carried out attacks in the last day.

Hamas is increasingly competing for space in these reports, even though its attacks are listed first. For instance, Hamas claimed that its Al-Qassam brigades carried out an attack using Yassin 105 shells targeting the IDF in Tal al-Sultan. They also claimed to use mortars. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades also claimed they carried out an attack in Rafah. In addition, the same PIJ units said they used a drone to target IDF forces near Kerem Shalom.

In the same Al-Mayadeen article, the Mujahideen Brigades, which are part of the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement, said they fired rockets towards Reim in Israel. “The Mujahideen Brigades broadcast footage of monitoring and targeting gatherings and the route of the Israeli occupation forces south of the Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza with Type 107 missiles,” the pro-Iran media outlet claimed.

Meanwhile the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said they carried out an attack targeting the Netzarim corridor. The Martyr Omar Al-Qasim unit, which is part of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said they used an RPG to target an IDF armored personnel carrier in Rafah.

The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also said they used 60mm mortars in an attack in the Al-Zaytun neighborhood near Gaza city. They said they cooperated with the DFLP.

Competing terrorist groups

This report is similar to many recent reports about attacks in Gaza. However, what is also clear is how many attacks, as an overall percent, are now being carried out by all the other terror groups in Gaza. These groups also operate in the West Bank. They will seek to leverage these attacks in Gaza in order to increase their role in the West Bank.

These groups worked together in Gaza and had their eyes on the post-war period. Hamas is letting the other groups operate because it has often partnered with PIJ in Gaza.

However, Hamas appears also to need the resources of these groups. Hamas has taken losses. Israel doesn’t usually differentiate between Hamas’s losses and these other groups, but the bulk of the losses in the Gaza war have been suffered by Hamas.

This means these groups are filling the breach and the vacuum. Hamas will want to clip their wings eventually; however, at the moment, these groups are now taking an increased role in the terrorist war waged against the IDF in Gaza. This makes sense for the smaller groups because they don’t have access to the larger munitions that Hamas once had. They have AK-47s, RPGs, and some mortars or rockets.

Therefore, this kind of war, where they can seek out targets of opportunity in Gaza, is well-tuned to how the smaller groups can operate. 

Seth Frantzman is the author of Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machine, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future (Bombardier 2021) and an adjunct fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Issues:

Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power