Why Israel is so good at targeting Hamas – Washington Examiner

Responding to a Hamas rocket strike that wounded seven Israelis, the Israeli Defense Forces successfully targeted high-value Hamas facilities across the Gaza strip. Once again, the IDF showed their great knowledge of where Hamas posts are hidden.

But how do they know those locations? It’s an important question because the IDF hasn’t been picking off low-hanging fruit. On the contrary, its targets included Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s office, Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters, and its internal security headquarters.

The answer: Israel is better at spying than Hamas is at catching spies. That’s down to Israel’s ability to saturate the Gaza strip with a wide range of highly capable intelligence platforms. Consider how these efforts come together.

First up, there are the IDF’s drones that provide near-constant real-time intelligence flow from the skies above Gaza. Monitoring the movement of Hamas officers, these drones allow the Israelis to know where targets are traveling to and from. That allows for other intelligence assets to be directed at locations that have a nexus to Hamas. Once identified as such, these facilities or officials can then be targeted by Israeli strikes.

Then there’s the work of the IDF’s Unit 8200 signal intelligence service. Monitoring Hamas communications, Unit 8200 provides insight into the group’s planning and enables IDF targeting.

But while the IDF controls the sky above Gaza and listens to the sounds inside the territory, Israeli intelligence forces also play a crucial role on the ground. This mission centers on the IDF covert infiltration units Samson, and Unit 217, and the border police’s Yamas unit. Operating in small teams throughout the Gaza strip, these units dress and act like normal Palestinian residents of Gaza. But they take extraordinary risks in monitoring Hamas leaders and identifying new Hamas facilities. This constant human intelligence effort is crucial because Hamas constantly relocates its operation centers so as to reduce the probability of Israeli detection. Of course, Israeli spies also recruit Hamas officials who can then provide intelligence on the group from a position of access.

The basic point is that when this effort comes together, it allows Israeli commanders to know where their enemies are located, and what they are doing in those locations. In turn, the IDF is able to launch short notice, but highly effective, strikes that drive Hamas to reconsider whether escalation with Israel is really such a good idea.


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