Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

Islamic State Affiliated Groups And Their Current Status

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

According to this Intel Center list, there are currently 43 worldwide terrorist groups which have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State. I started wondering how many of those were active, how many weren’t covered by that list, and what was the most recent documented activity of each. Hence this list.

I started with the Intel Center list, found the most recent activity (if any) for the group listed, added a few groups I knew they were missing, and alphabetized the whole thing (it was originally group by country). I don’t speak Arabic, so this list is not alphabetized the way an Arab scholar might alphabetize it. I’ve given alternate names and spellings where known, but this information is almost certainly not complete. I’ve tried to distinguish between similarly named groups, but it’s still entirely possibly I’ve gotten something wrong. Terrorist groups form, splinter and die-off all the time.

File all this under “first cut,” “incomplete” and “work in progress.”

  • Abu Sayyaf Group [Philippines]: Attempts to arrest Abu Sayyaf head Isnilon Hapilon are what evidently set off the fighting in Marawi City.
  • al-Ansar Battalion [Algeria]: Defectors from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), supposedly less than 10 fighters, and I see no evidence of recent activity. Not to be confused with other jihadist al-Ansar Battalions, such as those in the Syrian Free Army or the Ma’arakat al-Ansar Battalion in the Sulu archipelago of the Philippines.
  • al-Ghurabaa [Algeria]: No recent news. Not to be confused with the UK radical islamic group of the same name.
  • al-Huda Battalion in Maghreb of Islam [Algeria]: May have been absorbed into Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria (see below).
  • al-Shabaab Jubba Region Cell Bashir Abu Numan [Somalia]: Bashir Abu Numan was a commander for al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab commander who defected to the Islamic State with some 20 fighters late in 2015, and who was later killed by al-Shabaab’s Amniyat death squads. Possibly moribund.
  • al-I’tisam of the Koran and Sunnah [Sudan]: Apparently no activity since January 2016, when some of its supporters were released from prison.
  • al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan]: Not seeing any under that name, but there’s lots of news about “Islamic State in Khorasan,” namely fierce fighting against U.S. troops over the last four months, with their leader being killed in an air strike.
  • Ansar al-Islam [Iraq]: Appears to have merged with the Islamic State proper. Not to be confused with other groups named Ansar al-Islam, including a Bangladeshi group of that name affiliated with al Qaeda.
  • Ansar al-Khilafah [Philippines]: There are reports that some 40 Ansar al-Khilafah fighters joined Maute for the assault on Marawi City.
  • Ansar al-Tawhid in India [India]: Beyond issuing a call to kill non-Muslims in 2014, it does not seem to be very active.
  • Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) [Phillippines]: BIFF is another group that seems to be participating in the fighting on Mindanao, and members were covered in a recent Filipino Department of National Defense arrest orders.
  • Bangsmoro Justice Movement (BJM) [Phillippines]: BJM is a breakaway splinter from BIFF, and does not seem to have any notable activity since pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
  • Boko Haram (AKA the Islamic State in West Africa, AKA Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad) [Nigeria]: Still very active, and participated in a running gun battle with police in Kano Sunday. Estimates of Boko Haram’s size range from 4,000 to 20,000 fighters.
  • Central Sector of Kabardino-Balakria of the Caucasus Emirate [Russia]: Can’t find any recent information. Presumably defectors from the crumbling Caucasus Emirate.
  • Djamaat Houmat ad-Da’wa as-Salafiya (DHDS) [Algeria]: Another Algerian terrorist group that does not seem to have done much of anything.
  • Faction of Katibat al-Imam Bukhari [Syria]: All the reports I can fund on Katibat al-Imam Bukhari seem to refer to them as an Uzbek Islamist group, some of which seem to be fighting in Syria under Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, AKA the Al-Nusra Front, which split off from the Islamic State, was at one time affiliated with al Qaeda, and now is theoretically independent of both.
  • Heroes of Islam Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan]: See al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan.
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [Pakistan/Uzbekistan]: Actively fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  • Islamic State in Afghanistan: Not in the Intel Center list. Actively fighting against both U.S. troops and the Taliban. Reported to have ties to the Pakistani ISI, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.
  • Islamic State Libya (Darnah) [Libya]: Egyptian warplanes hit them in May in response for their involvement in killing Egyptian Copts.
  • Islamic Youth Shura Council [Libya]: Evidently still active in 2017. “Established an Islamic court and police authority in Benghazi. The group is notorious for decapitating swaths of residents from both Derna and Benghazi.”
  • Jaish al-Sahabah in the Levant [Syria]: No recent news, possibly absorbed into the Islamic State or other factions in the Syrian civil war.
  • Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (AKA Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, AKA Wilayat Sinai, AKA Ansar Jerusalem, AKA Ansar Jerusalem, AKA Supporters of the Holy Place) [Egypt]: Turned into the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. One of its members was killed by Egyptian security forces last week.
  • Jemaah Islamiyah [Philippines/Indonesia]: Very active in various bombing campaigns in Indonesia, but have evidently been relatively quiet since 2015.
  • Jemaah Anshorut (or Jamaah Ansharut) Tauhid (JAT) [Indonesia]: Evidently the successor to several other jihadist groups in Indonesia, Stratfor describes it as “sputtering,” and the pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi caused several members to split into still another terrorist group.
  • Jund al-Khilafah in Egypt [Egypt]: No recent news, probably merged into the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. See Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis.
  • Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia [Tunisia]: They recently killed the brother of a shepherd they had also killed in 2015. But the group is also said to be gathering strength in the mountains.
  • Jundullah [Pakistan]: Jundullah carried out several attacks in Pakistan between 2012 and 2015, and is thought to be a member of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan umbrella jihadi group, not all of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. There’s a seperate Jundallah in Iran that has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.
  • Khalid ibn al-Walid Army [Syria]. Not on Intel Center list. Syrian jihad group that merged with Martyrs of al-Yarmouk Brigade, also pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and reportedly controls territory in southern Syria along the Golan Heights.
  • Leaders of the Mujahid in Khorasan (ten former TTP commanders) [Pakistan]: Not finding any recent information on this splinter group.
  • Lions of Libya [Libya]: No news since they reportedly pledged their allegiance in 2014.
  • Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek [Lebanon]: Claimed credit for a car bomb attacked that killed a Hezbollah leader in 2014. (Remember, as a Shi’a militia/terrorist group, members of Hezbollah are automatically on the Islamic State’s “kill on sight” list.)
  • Martyrs of al-Yarmouk Brigade [Syria]: Evidently merged with other groups into the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, which has also pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and reportedly controls territory in southern Syria.
  • Maute (AKA Islamic State in Lanao) [Philippines]: Not in the Intel Center list. The primary group responsible for the fighting in Marawi City. Reportedly led by brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute.
  • Mujahideen Indonesia Timor (MIT) (AKA East Indonesia Mujahideen EIM) [Indonesia]: Do not seem to have been active after their leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, was killed in 2016.
  • Mujahideen of Tunisia of Kairouan [Tunisia]: Not seeing any notable news since 2015, when they carried out a deadly beach attack.
  • Mujahideen of Yemen [Yemen]: Possibly absorbed into the Islamic State in Yemen (AKA Wilayat Sana) proper.
  • Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSCJ) [Egypt/Gaza]: Intel Center says Egypt, other sources say they’re active only in Gaza. Since Hamas has not pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, they seem to have been pretty thoroughly suppressed there.
  • The Nokhchico Wilayat of the Caucasus Emirate [Russia]: Can’t find any recent information. Presumably defectors from the crumbling Caucasus Emirate.
  • Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion [Tunisia]: Two members were killed in a raid by Tunisian forces, but they were described as “an al-Qaeda-linked group.”
  • Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah [Libya]: No news since significant defeats in 2014.
  • The Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria (AKA Jund al-Khilafah fi Ard al-Jazair, AKA Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Algeria Province) [Algeria]: It’s possible that the June 6 Paris hammer attacker may have been a member. If not, they seem to have been largely ineffective. “For the past two years, the Algerian military has stopped 44 members of a local armed group called ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’ that swore allegiance to the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.”
  • Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen [Yemen]: Like Mujahideen of Yemen, not a lot of news.
  • Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia]: Nothing since they shot a Danish national back in 2014.
  • Tehreek-e-Khilafat [Pakistan]: Though it has roots in a movement advocating resistance to British rule during World War I, evidently Tehreek-e-Khilafat has been amalgamated into Wilayat Khorasan, the South and Central Asian “chapter” of the Islamic State, along with “Khilafat Afghan (former Afghan Taliban), the Tehreek-e-Khilafat Pakistan (former TTP), Tehreek-e-Khilafat Khorasan (former TTP), the Omar Ghazi group, the Muslimdost group, the Azizullah Haqqani group (former Afghan Taliban), the Shamali Khilafat, the Jaish-ul-Islam, the Harakat Khilafat Baluch, the Mullah Bakhtwar group (former TTP), the Jaish-ul-Islam and the China-oriented Gansu Hui group created by WK members themselves.” Together they are thought to number some 1,000-3,000 fighters.
  • Hamas Sought More Accurate Maps to Aim Rockets

    Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

    “The Hamas terror group requested better quality maps from a Turkish charity in order to gain more accuracy when firing rockets, according to Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency.”

    Plus the usual diversion of humanitarian funds to terrorism:

    The Shin Bet discovered after questioning Muhammad Murtaja, who was arrested last month on suspicion of working on behalf of Hamas, that over the past two years the terror terror organization had asked the Turkish IHH organization for advanced satellite mapping programs to improve the accuracy of its rockets, the Hebrew-language Ynet news site reported.

    The Shin Bet investigation reportedly revealed that during its last war with Israel in 2014, Hamas used Google Maps in order to target locations in Israel, leading to most of the rockets missing their targets. Many of the other rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

    Murtaja, the manager of the Gaza branch of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), is accused of having taken advantage of his position in TIKA in order to direct funds and resources away from “meaningful humanitarian projects” and toward Hamas’s military wing.

    Honestly, the entire reason I’m linking this story is to use this:

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    UK’s Labour Party Swerves Hard Left, Elects Jeremy Corbyn Head

    Saturday, September 12th, 2015

    UK’s Labour Party just just elected hard lefty Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

    How hard lefty? He makes Bernie Sanders look like Bob Dole:

    Nothing should detract from his record as an unreconstructed socialist peacenik. He is stridently anti-American and has declared himself a “friend” of Hamas and Hizbollah. Despite the growing belligerence of Russia, he is inclined to take the UK out of Nato and would scrap Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent. Of particular concern is his critical stance towards the EU. It is now far from certain that Labour will support continued UK membership of the bloc at the forthcoming referendum.

    On domestic policy, he lacks any credibility. He would nationalise Britain’s railways and utilities and remove the private sector from public services. Despite his claim to green credentials, he has pledged in the past to reopen the UK’s coal mines. He toys with forcing the Bank of England to underwrite deficit financing for any purpose, regardless of the effect on inflation. Under Mr Corbyn, Labour will, in the words of one party MP, become a “1980s Trotskyist tribute act.”

    Now the question becomes: Which party replaces Labour as the main opposition to the Tories in 2020, SNP or UKIP?

    Do You Know More Foreign Policy Than Donald Trump? Take This Quiz

    Saturday, September 5th, 2015

    I got six of six. And anyone who doesn’t know who the Kurds are since no later than 1991 shouldn’t be President…

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

    LinkSwarm for March 6, 2105

    Friday, March 6th, 2015

    Welcome to Friday! With so much being written about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server (well, secret to mere peasants like you and me, if not foreign governments…) and the King v. Burwell ObamaCare hearings, I didn’t include anything on them in this LinkSwarm. Maybe later…

  • Egyptian-born imam called for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s death for defaming Islam. Does the Department of Justice: A.) Seek to deport him, B.) Investigate his ties to terrorism, or C.) Hire him to teach Islam in prison? (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm, the last “moderate” group backed by the White House, disbands and joins the jihadists. Another towering Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy triumph!
  • So the forces trying to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State are Iranian-led Shia militias?
  • Hillary Clinton’s foreign payola wasn’t just illegal, it was unconstitutional:

    The Washington Post reported last week that the tax-exempt foundation run by Bill and Hillary Clinton accepted money from seven foreign governments while Hillary served as U.S. Secretary of State (it’s unclear how much foreign money the organization accepted while Hillary was a U.S. Senator). Super shady, right? It’s worse than that, though, because Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution actually bans foreign payola for U.S. officials.

    The constitutional ban on foreign cash payments to U.S. officials is known as the Emoluments Clause and originated from Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the clause was to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials. Here’s the text of the clause:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

  • Ted Cruz participated in a discussion with Elie Wiesel on the dangers of letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons. But what would Elie Wiesel know about attempts to exterminate Jews?
  • Obama’s greatest accomplishment is kicking people out of the workforce. Well, at least domestically…
  • The New York Observer has a hotline to the Kremlin
  • Egypt declares Hamas a terrorist organization.
  • Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski to retire. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Chicago’s credit rating slashed. That’s what happens when you spend like drunken sailors. Or, worse yet, Californians.
  • Via Borepatch, an entire blog dedicated to improvised arms.
  • The Top 10 GOP Donors in Texas.
  • Science shows that fracking is not responsible for earthquakes in the DFW area.
  • Guy decides to leave civilization behind and start his own Utopia. It turns out exactly as any rational observers would expect.
  • Tweet:

  • The Llamas With Hats saga is now complete.

  • LinkSwarm for November 7, 2014

    Friday, November 7th, 2014

    A Friday LinkSwarm after a very eventful week…

  • So exactly when was it that the UK became the child rape capital of the Western world? First Rotherham, now Manchester.

  • Government of Burkina Faso falls. Evidently people there thought that 27 years of rule for President Blaise Compaore was more than enough…
  • Russia sends more tanks into Ukraine. Looks like we’ll dealing with the fallout of Obama’s “flexibility” for decades… (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty).
  • The Pakistani version of Axe Cop sounds a whole lot less entertaining than the American version.
  • DSCC head blames Obama for Senate loss.
  • The DSCC decides that they’ll stop pouring money down the rathole that is Mary Landrieu.
  • “Salon Writer Condemns Arithmetic As Racist.” Or how Jonathan Chait ruthlessly used his Mansplaining Male Math Privilege to oppress Jenny Kutner.
  • Because their attacks on Koch were so successful, Democrats double-down on stupid.
  • U.S. hits targets in Syria. Not ISIS, but “the Khorasan group.” For such a reportedly “small” group, we seem to be bombing them a lot…
  • Fatah and Hamas thoughtfully take a break from trying to kill Jews in order to blow each other up.
  • I’m shocked, shocked that there’s abuse and fraud in the “Obamaphone” program.
  • In addition to national and statewide outbreaks of sanity, there was even an outbreak in Austin, where voters defeated a proposal to expand Capitol Metro’s toy trains.

  • The Unexpected Return of This Week(ish) in Jihad

    Thursday, September 25th, 2014

    Bombing, revolution, and other jihad-related news breaking out, so let’s dust off this old headline category and throw up some links.

  • Our air force continues to bomb ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, including hitting their oil refineries.
  • France has been helping us bomb ISIS in Iraq as well, though evidently not in Syria.
  • Syrian Kurds flee into Turkey.
  • Did Hamas just give up control of Gaza? If so, I’d say Israel won the war decisively…
  • Houthi rebels have taken Yemen’s capital of Sana’a just a day after signing a peace treaty with the government. They follow Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, a Zaidi Shia (i.e., Fivers rather than Twelvers) as opposed to the formerly ruling Sunnis. I can’t tell from scanty news reports how interested they are in jihad or imposing Sharia law (or imposing more Sharia law, since the existing constitution is evidently partially based on it).
  • Jury finds Arab Bank liable for supporting Hamas by paying out martyrdom payments for suicide bombings in Israel.
  • “Coming Soon in Aceh [Indonesia]: Shariah Law for Non-Muslims. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Jihadists are eyeing the porous Mexican border as a way to launch terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • Obama praises “moderate” Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah who backed a fatwa on U.S. soldiers. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • From French fries to fatwa: the deadly path to jihad of Numan Haider.”
  • Actual ABC headline: “How #ISIS Is Complicating Al Franken’s Reelection Bid.” (Hat tip: Creeping Sharia.)
  • LinkSwarm for September 22, 2014

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    A Monday LinkSwarm of some recent(ish) news:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: ObamaCare covers abortions.
  • Alaska doctor shuts down practice due to ObamaCare.
  • Obama’s own Secretary of Defense says we left Iraq too soon.
  • Strangely enough, Gaza landlords are no longer wild about renting to Hamas.
  • Another day, another 36 people killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
  • “A Pakistani academic known for promoting liberal views on Islam has been shot dead by gunmen.” And people wonder why we don’t hear from more moderate Muslims…
  • The progressive media consensus on Islam is stultifying, and deliberately so. It’s a series of simplistic claims intended to drown out any adult discussion on the issue in favor of childish happy-talk which serves no purpose except to preserve the fragile progressive voting coalition.”
  • How well is the war against ISIS going? David Gergen compares it to the rollout of ObamaCare.
  • Meanwhile, ISIS continues to advance in Syria.
  • “The ‘social justice warriors are only happy when they’re destroying someone. That’s because they’re awful people with mental and emotional issues.”
  • Are you a whistle-blower who has spoken truth to power? Then expect to be investigated by the media, if the power you spoke truth to has a (D) after their name…
  • Global warming has been missing for 19 years.
  • Fareed Zakaria: Plagiarist. (Via Instapundit.)
  • Mary Burke: Plagiarist. (Also via Instapundit.)
  • C. David Heymann: Serial Liar. (Hat tip: Dwight.
  • Federal Reserve makes a $7 Trillion (with a T) cut-and-paste error. I would think that when you’re dealing with trillions of dollars, you’d want to have additional auditors checking your math. Silly me…
  • With antisemitism on the rise, Jews decide that Glocks go with lox.
  • The college rape “epidemic” is complete bunk.
  • Last year: Socialist Party Vice Presidential candidate. This year: Texas Democratic Party state House candidate.
  • Wallace Hall update: Remember how Rep. Dan Flynn was part of the “impeach Hall” committee? Guess what?

    Flynn, however, is one of the lawmakers who tried to pull strings for a family friend, and never disclosed that fact throughout his yearlong investigation, even as the question of legislative influence became the subject of two official investigations and independent media investigations, and ultimately led to the forced resignation of the university’s president, Bill Powers.

    Flynn wrote a letter to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on behalf of a family friend who was applying to UT; the name of the applicant and the letter’s date are redacted on a copy of the letter that was published Thursday by the Texas Tribune.

    The Texas Tribune published 112 pages of correspondence with Cigarroa’s office involving letters of recommendation; five of those letters were from state legislators: Reps. Flynn, Tryon Lewis and Brandon Creighton, and Sens. Carlos Uresti and Mario Gallegos.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction)

  • S. T. Joshi on why replacing H. P. Lovecraft’ visage on the World Fantasy Award statuette (an idea pushed by the usual radical feminist Social Justice Warriors) is a bad idea. Keep scrolling, there’s a lot of slagging of a very foolish idea at a very high level of diction…
  • Feminism is about women’s equality. Period. It’s not about capitalism or socialism or racism.” Well, first wave feminism, anyway…
  • Dripping Springs ISD administrators have decided that the children in their charges are the perfect laboratory for social justice engineering via “Meatless Mondays.”
  • We just passed the 40 year anniversary of Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump. Kids: Ask your parents what an “Evel Knievel” was. Or, urm, your grandparents. And get the hell off my lawn!
  • Austin wants to spend $1 billion to extend their toy trains. Citizens Against Rail Taxes explain why that’s a bad idea.
  • LinkSwarm for August 8, 2014

    Friday, August 8th, 2014

    Another roundup of news, a disproportionate amount from the Middle East, disproportionately bad.

  • Old and Busted: “Never again!” The New Hotness: “Genocide? Meh. Case-by-case basis.”
  • More on the ISIS campaign to wipe out the Yazidi and other religious minorities.
  • Obama says he’s authorizing air strikes “if necessary.” Even when threatening military action, Obama manages to sound wishy-washy.
  • There are conflicting reports as to weather ISIS or the Kurdish Pesh Merga hold the Mosul dam.
  • Hamas demands that Israel kick their ass some more.
  • Rick Perry: “Since September of ’08, we have seen 203,000 individuals who have illegally come into the United States — into Texas — booked in to Texas county jails…These individuals are responsible for over 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults.”
  • Quiz: Real Salon or Parody Salon? Difficulty: Impossible.
  • Leland Yee pleads not guilty to racketeering charges. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Won’t someone think of the poor federal employee who have nothing to do all day but spank their monkey to online porn?
  • Why did Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell proclaim a day in honor of convicted Louisiana felon Ed Edwards?
  • It has to be said: Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the fashion sense God gave a turtle. Two words: Lane Bryant.
  • Soldiers’ military kits from 1066 to 2014.
  • There’s a website dedicated to the world’s tallest men.
  • Inside Hamas’ Tunnels

    Thursday, August 7th, 2014

    A few notes on those Hamas tunnels, the destruction of which drove the latter half of Operation Protective Edge

    Israeli military, intelligence, and political officials have known for years that Hamas fighters were burrowing into their country from Gaza through underground tunnels. An Israeli army spokesman said this month that the military had discovered four tunnels just in the past 18 months, well before Israel’s current ground offensive began. But in interviews, current and former Israeli officials said the military and intelligence services didn’t realize the extent of Hamas’s subterranean operations, nor did political leaders act to counter a threat that has become the central focus of Israel’s Gaza campaign and stands as potentially the biggest Israeli intelligence failure in years.

    A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the military has so far discovered far more tunnels — 40 and counting — than Israel had previously thought existed. The number came as a surprise, as did the sophistication of the tunnel network. Current and former officials said that Israeli intelligence and political leaders knew that the tunnels were fortified with concrete and had space to store weapons and food. But Israeli intelligence analysts and political leaders didn’t comprehend that the tunnels were wide enough to move several Hamas fighters into the country at a time, and they didn’t realize how many of the tunnels ended up in Israel, particularly near civilians. (A Hamas video that shows fighters emerging from a tunnel and attacking an Israeli military installation provides a vivid example of why Israelis have so come to fear the clandestine attacks.)

    How big are these tunnels?

    Israel understood that tunnels from Gaza posed a “huge risk” as early as October 2013, when the IDF discovered a long tunnel underneath the kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, just east of the border with Gaza, Col. Grisha Yakubovich, the head of the civil department in the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, said in an interview.

    The tunnel was enormous: It ran 1.5 miles, 66 feet below the ground. Authorities estimated that some 350 tons of concrete were used to build it, enough to build a small hospital three floors high, Yakubovich said. “We were amazed by the size of it.”

    Which points out a tough dilemma for Hamas: Building hospitals to hide the rockets you attack Israel with, or build tunnels to conduct kidnapping of Israelis? Decisions, decisions…

    Here’s Wolf Blitzer touring one of the tunnels:

    Here’s Hamas’ own propaganda video on their tunnels:

    And what were they planning to use them for?

    “Hamas is said to have planned a huge terrorist attack that would taken place on September 24, 2014, which is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.”