Hamas has established a new naval defense force, headed by one of the group's senior commanders Jamil al-Dahashan, that will be entrusted with guarding the Gaza Strip coast, Ynet has recently learned.
The force, which does not as yet own any marine vessels, is aimed at securing the shores from IDF marine operations as well as criminal activity of drug dealers.
The force will also try to prevent collaboration of Palestinians with the IDF. According to Hamas, several local fishermen admitted in recent weeks to relaying information to IDF ships.
A Hamas official told Ynet that the force's members have already deployed several heavy machine guns and mortars along the beaches to be used against IDF vessels if they approach the Strip. He admitted that the force would not be able to match the abilities of the Israeli Navy, but stated that it would attempt to intervene in its operations.
Since Hamas' takeover of the Strip, the IDF has kept away from Gaza's shores, he added.
"The Israelis have stopped firing, even at Palestinian fishermen boats like they used to," he said. "I think they know that Hamas fighters and the new naval force have in their possession some of the security forces' heavy artillery, seized during the Strip's takeover."
According to the official, the new force is made up of Hamas members and members of the organizations affiliated with the group, including some who had served in the Palestinian Authority Navy in the past.