Despite a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Hamas carried out a two-day, large-scale military drill in Gaza earlier this week featuring 30,000 terrorist operatives, according to a Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report.
Operatives from across Hamas' military wing – including air, land, and sea units – participated in the military exercises, demonstrating the terrorist organization's efforts to improve interoperability among its various components.
Fighters practiced attacking armored vehicles depicting IDF tanks, while test firing missiles into the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas also deployed drones with "Ababil" markings – one of Iran's signature unmanned aerial vehicles.
Terrorists also practiced emerging from underground tunnels and kidnapping Israeli soldiers.
The drill took place days before Land Day, in anticipation of more Palestinian demonstrations across Israel. The military maneuvers are intended to send signals to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority: that Hamas remains in control of Gaza and has the capacity to inflict considerable casualties against the Jewish state.
This latest development is further proof that Hamas is investing enormous amounts of resources into its military wing, prioritizing its terrorist capabilities over its own population's needs.
Earlier this month, Hamas was caught stealing electricity from a Gaza power line intended for civilian use amid reports of financial and humanitarian crises.
Western media outlets have been recently focusing on a "humanitarian" and "financial" crisis in Gaza Strip – often blaming Israel or internal Palestinian rifts. But a major, and overlooked, factor behind the Palestinian territory's woes is Hamas itself. The terrorist organization and rulers of the Gaza Strip often re-route humanitarian goods and energy intended for civilians to fuel its militant ambitions.
The terrorist group, along with other Palestinian militant organizations, continue to invest heavily in offensive tunnels used for smuggling and to plot attacks inside Israel.
Diverting international assistance and charitable donations help fuel Hamas' military build-up, including the latest two-day military drill.