Hamas is now manufacturing a large part of its own weapons, expanding its research, developing drones and unmanned underwater vehicles, engaging in cyber warfare, and on the cusp of graduating from unguided rockets to precision GPS-guided drones and missiles.
“Hamas, with Iranian and Hizbullah logistical support, has mastered the art of sneaking in critical shipments coming from Libya or transiting via Sudan, using generous cash payments to tribes or even bribes to Egyptian military officers,” Hamas expert Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib reported in June for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The IDF identified a Hamas naval commando base with a tunnel extending dozens of meters into the sea. An investigation showed that the beach base containing the tunnel was financed with funds siphoned from the UN Development Agency. For many years, weapons for Hamas have been dropped into the sea in sealed capsules miles off the coast of Gaza.
In the 11 days of the 2021 war, Hamas launched 400 rockets a day, nearly four times the daily average number of launches in 2014. Hamas also launched six suicide drones during the war. All were intercepted by Israel, some by classified means.
During the 2021 war, the IDF destroyed an autonomous underwater vehicle carrying 50 kg. of explosives. The IDF noted that Hamas has “unmanned submarines that operate autonomously and navigate using GPS.”
Hamas established electronic warfare units that sought to neutralize Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and disrupt IDF communications. One of these units was based in the Jalaa building in Gaza City, which also housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Israel struck at least 10 Hamas cyber and electronic warfare targets during the war.