The Hamas Military Wing Has Introduced A New, "Locally-Manufactured" Drone For Intelligence Gathering

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May 20, 2021

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On May 13, 2021, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, revealed its use of Shihab suicide drones.[1] This was followed by a video announcing that it has introduced a new-model drone for intelligence-gathering purposes.

On May 19, 2021, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades released a short video clip which includes footage allegedly filmed in Israel on May 18, 2021, by a new drone in the Brigades' arsenal. The clip was posted on the Brigades' website and on its Telegram channel.[2] The new drone is called the "Al-Zawari," and is named for Mohammad Al-Zawari, the Hamas movement's drone engineer who was killed in Tunis in 2016.

According to the clip, the drone has flown over Israel to gather information in order "to determine the targets and [to locate] the positions of the enemy."

The footage in the clip shows populated areas, electric towers, a bridge, and military vehicles. The clip stresses that the drone "returned safely to its base."

It should be noted that the clip shows only aerial footage allegedly from the drone, but does not include photographs showing the drone itself. This was not the case with the Shihab drone, photographs of which were posted by the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades several days before the clip was released.

Several hours after the video was released, an article about the movement's drones was posted on the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades website titled, "The Drones – A Significant Development by the Al-Qassam Brigades and A Weapon Which Frightens the Enemies."

The article declares, "The skies of Palestine are no longer the monopoly of the enemy's planes. Al-Qassam Brigades continue to develop its [military] industry and its weapons… by means of drones which keep the enemy awake at night… Al-Qassam engineers have worked to develop the drones in several stages alongside [the development] of the rocket systems. This is a turning point and [one] of the many surprises of the Al-Qassam Brigades with its 'Sayf Al-Quds' campaign [Lance of Jerusalem][3]."

According to the article, the Hamas military wing has been working since 2014 to move the fighting from within Gaza to Israeli territory, and has succeeded in producing high-quality drones which have surprised Israel.

The article also maintains that during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the first drone manufactured by Hamas in Gaza, the "ABABIL," was unveiled, and "its first mission was above the building of the Zionist war office HaKirya in Tel Aviv."[4] Al-Qassam revealed that it had manufactured three types of the ABABIL drone: The A1A – an intelligence drone; the A1B – an attack drone; and the A1C – a drone for suicide missions.

The article notes further that after several years "the Zionist enemy" assassinated Tunisian engineer Mohammad Al-Zawari, and the Al-Qassam Brigades revealed that he was one of the senior figures who supervised the ABABIL drone project.

According to the article, during the most recent round of fighting between Israel and the movement, which began on May 10, 2021, Hamas disclosed that for the first time its operatives had used locally- manufactured, booby-trapped Shihab drones to attack a gas rig off the Gaza coastline, and against concentrations of Israeli soldiers on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.[5]

It is noteworthy that on December 29, 2020, Al-Aqsa TV, which is owned by Hamas, broadcast a Gaza joint command military exercise which included Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad forces and simulated an attack by naval commando units on Israeli forces. The exercise also involved the use of military drones and missiles.[6]

 

 


[2] Alqassam.ps, May 19, 2021.

[3] 'Sayf Al-Quds' (Lance of Jerusalem) is the name that the Palestinian military factions are using for the campaign against Israel which began on May 10, 2021.

[4] It should be noted that at the time, the IDF Spokesman reported that he knew nothing of such an occurrence, Nytimes.com, July 14, 2014.

[5] Alqassam.ps, May 19, 2021.

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