A Hamas fighter nabbed earlier this year by Israeli security forces has provided valuable information on the group's modus operandi, its willingness to clash with Israel, and its attempts to improve its rocket range. The revelations, published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, also revealed Hamas connections with the Muslim Brotherhood and training in foreign countries.
"An analysis of the war with Israel was undertaken. It found that a large number of Hamas activists ran away from their positions. A failure occurred in decision-making coupled with an inability to use arms during the battle – because of fear," Dirar Abu Sisi, a former top Hamas "engineer" reportedly told Israeli officials. "A program of study had to be created, in order to improve the situation."
Recently released records of his interrogation show that the group's regimented hierarchy learned from these mistakes and established an academy to improve military training. Instruction on combat methods and tactics were undertaken in Gaza mosques, while Hamas men passed final exams in local universities and religious facilities.
"The books and academic materials did not bear the Hamas name or logo," Abu Sisi said. "Instructors include university lecturers, education ministry officials, merchants and others," noted Yediot Aharonot. Further instruction was given to selected graduates of Hamas' program at military academies in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Iran. Abu Sisi aided the group in making mathematical calculations for rocket development, including the ability of metal pipes to withstand heat and pressure.
Abu Sisi claimed that he had come to regret his actions, following his kidnapping in the Ukraine by Israeli agents. "I greatly regret my affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas Movement, my work to develop the missile range, my part in establishing Hamas' military academy, and all the information I handed over to Hamas that can threaten the security of Israel and its citizens," he said. "I know the missiles are lethal and take the lives of others, without distinguishing between Arabs and Jews."
He is charged with nine criminal counts, including membership in a terrorist organization, attempted murder, and illegal arms production.