Thursday, December 23, 2021

Hamas Presence In Lebanon Grows

Lebanon blast latest reminder of Hamas’s growing armed presence to Israel’s north

The deadly explosion that tore through a Hamas arms depot on December 10 in a mosque in the Burj Al Shimali refugee camp, in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, is a vivid reminder of Hamas’s growing organized armed presence on Lebanese territory – and Iran’s role in helping it grow.

The blast killed a Hamas engineer named Hamza Ibrahim Shahine, whose funeral turned into a gun battle between gunmen from Fatah and Hamas, leaving three people reportedly dead.

Two months before the blast, the mosque at Burj Al-Shimali was flagged as a central weapons manufacturing workshop in a detailed report by the Alma Center, a security watchdog based in northern Israel.

Hamas’s growing armed presence is not only a serious challenge for Hezbollah, due to Hamas’s independent decision-making on when to fire rockets at Israel – it is also creating a challenge for Fatah in Lebanon, Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, director of the research department at the Alma Center, told JNS.

“Hamas does not just see itself as a guest in Lebanon,” said Beeri, who served for 20 years in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate.

“It is a serious challenge for Hezbollah on Lebanon, because of its independent activities and force build-up, and it is also in a state of significant tension with Fatah, the central Palestinian movement in Lebanon,” he stated.

All of this serves Iran well, giving the Islamic Republic multiple proxies and allies that it can encourage to act against Israel from Lebanon, and giving it options when Hezbollah wishes to focus on domestic Lebanese crises and to dial down tensions with Israel.


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