Gaza beach (archives)
Photo: AP
Hamas' special security force in Gaza
Photo: AP

Hamas confirms establishment of 'navy'

Gaza government's interior ministry jovially announces establishment of naval defense force comprised of 150 fighters, following recent Ynet report. New force aimed at providing security to Strip's shores, dealing with drug smuggling and supervising fishermen

The Hamas government's interior ministry in the Gaza Strip on Saturday confirmed Ynet's recent report that the Palestinian organization's special security force has completed the establishment of a new naval defense force, which would serve as a "navy" for the Hamas army in the Strip.


According to the announcement, the naval police force will be responsible for providing security on Gaza's shores. Saber Halifa, spokesman for Hamas' special security force, will reorganize the Palestinian navy and fill in the gap created after Hamas' takeover of the Strip by managing all the Palestinian Authority's naval posts.


According to the Hamas government, the new naval arm is comprised of 150 fighters, and will begin its work on the Strip's shores in the coming days.


The naval force's goal, according to the announcement, is to provide security to the Strip's shores, prevent drug smuggling attempts, supervise fishermen and guarantee their personal safety and the safety of their property.


"The force will safeguard the tourist sites and the wellbeing and safety of their visitors," the announcement added.


On Thursday, Ynet reported that Hamas Hamas had 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.


A Hamas official told Ynet that the force's members had 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."


In response to the report, a military source said Thursday night that "the new situation in the Gaza Strip obligates us to act differently at sea. There are threats that did not exist in the past. We recognize this, and are ready in accordance."


According to military sources, new instructions have recently been handed down to Israeli patrol ship crews on how to deal with the threat of an attack by terror organizations using various marine vessels currently in their possession.


These instructions were given in light of intelligence information verifying the possibility of an attack on an Israeli Navy ship. The sources said the Navy’s activity, which is aimed mainly at preventing the smuggling of arms from Egypt into Gaza and intercepting terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel by sea, has not been hindered.


פרסום ראשון: 08.11.07, 16:01
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