Arab daily reveals how Hamas leaders in Gaza and outside communicate with each other

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

The Saudi-owned London-based Arabic-language daily Asahrq Al-Awsat reveals the communications system used by Hamas leaders and officials to exchange messages in Gaza’s underground without being detected.

Citing sources close to the terror group’s leadership, the daily reports that Hamas and its military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, have relied since 2009 on a terrestrial communications network that was initially developed by al-Qassam engineers and was upgraded over the years with technology smuggled in from abroad.

Switchboards were reportedly installed underground and connected to old landlines above the ground.

The sources add that Israel has been aware of the system for years, and has attempted to hack it or destroy it several times.

The network was reportedly still in function at the outbreak of the war, and was used to discuss the details of the November truce with Israel and the release of hostages, sources say. Some people were tasked with looping in the group’s leadership abroad, and relaying decisions made in Gaza through the use of encrypted software.

After the conclusion of the truce and in light of IDF advances on the ground inside Gaza, the Hamas leadership has been reportedly forced to resort to a more rudimentary method of communications – by exchanging written messages on pieces of paper carried by Hamas members and aides.

The same method is used to convey messages to those who are in contact with the leadership abroad. The latter, however, are not entitled to make decisions without the approval of the top level inside the Strip, particularly Yahya Sinwar, sources say.

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