Armed Hamas terrorists conduct military drill in Samaria

Gaza-based terror group flexes its muscles far beyond the borders of the coastal enclave in Palestinian Authority-administered territory.

By World Israel News Staff

The Hamas terror group conducted a military drill in the heart of Samaria on Saturday, just miles away from the northern Israel city of Afula, signaling their strengthening presence outside of the Gaza Strip.

In the video circulating on social media, some 10 masked men whose faces are obscured with keffiyehs are seen running in the hills on the outskirts of Jenin, heavily armed with M-16 machine guns and other rifles, jumping from heights and aiming their weapons over the horizon.

The men, some of whom wear green headbands emblazoned with the Hamas logo, then pray. One of the men is seen wrapping himself in a Hamas flag.

The Gaza-based terror organization has traditionally seen its influence limited to the coastal enclave, with the Palestinian Authority administering Arab locales in Judea and Samaria, but recent years has seen Hamas’ reach expanding far into PA territory.

Former Shin Bet security official Adi Carmi slammed the PA in a radio interview on Sunday morning, saying the body was not doing enough to clamp down on Hamas’ presence and terror attacks in Judea and Samaria.

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“There is a lack of control from a security point of view, and of course we see it on the ground in all areas. Hamas is sitting on the fence, trying to recruit terrorist squads, pouring in money, encouraging attacks, activating incitement networks from all directions,” he told 103FM.

“We are seeing an increasing number of shooting attacks. Over 60 shooting attacks have been carried out since the beginning of the year. The Shin Bet has thwarted about 220 shooting attacks since the beginning of the year.”

As recently as May 2022, the Hamas terror group has raised its flag on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and has used eastern Jerusalem mosques as rallying points for its regional operatives.

During the month-long Ramadan holiday period, Hamas flags and banners were prominently displayed at the holy site and mobs openly chanted praise for the terror group’s leaders, acts which were alarming to the site’s traditional custodians.

In May 2021, Hamas was found to be using an eastern Jerusalem mosque as an operational center. A cell phone video showed young men inside a mosque in the Arab town of Anata, which is partially under Israeli control and borders the Shuafat eastern Jerusalem neighborhood, holding Hamas flags and calling upon local youth to fight Israeli soldiers at a nearby checkpoint.

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Eliyahu Kay, an immigrant originally from South Africa, was gunned down by a Hamas-affiliated terrorist in the Old City of Jerusalem in November 2021.