Hamas leaders now use handwritten notes carried by runners to communicate: Report

The ageing landline system was in place until the IDF troops invaded Gaza

54-An-Israeli-solider-peers-into-a-Hamas-made-tunnel Tunnel vision: An Israeli solider peers into a Hamas-made tunnel. Operations to destroy the Hamas tunnel network have only served to expand it.

As Israel's war on Hamas intensifies, the leaders of the Palestinian militant group, who Israel believes are holed up inside the massive tunnel system in Gaza, are reportedly resorting to using handwritten notes delivered by runners to avoid detection. 

The age-old system is even helping the Hamas leaders to communicate with senior officials abroad, Saudi-owned Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday. This comes as Hamas leaders contemplate the latest hostage deal proposed by Israel.

The report added that until the war broke out, Hamas primarily relied on the terrestrial communications network, an ageing landline system developed by its engineering. The system was upgraded over the years with technology smuggled into Gaza from abroad. Switchboards were reportedly installed underground and connected to old landlines aboveground, The Times of Israel quoted the Saudi media. 

Every leader had a personal contact point and the militant group monitored the network every month to prevent leaks. Israel was aware of the system and had launched several attempts to hack it or disable it. 

"One successful attempt was conducted in May 2018, when the IDF managed to blow up an exchange point in the central Gaza Strip and kill a group of Hamas engineers repairing a fault," The Times of Israel quoted sources.

However, with the outbreak of war, some of the switchboards and tunnels in which cables ran were destroyed by Israeli forces. The network was operational until November during the first truce with Israel and the partial release of hostages. 

Hamas had aides who were entrusted with looping in the group’s leadership abroad, particularly in Beirut and Doha, through the use of encryption software they acquired from outside Gaza. The network also was equipped with the facility to communicate with leaders of the allied Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, to which Hamas had previously provided dedicated contact points. The communication link was active during the hostage release as during several instances members of the two groups appeared together aboveground as the abductees were handed over to the Red Cross.

However, with IDF has advanced further inside Gaza, Hamas leaders had to switch to the rudimentary method of communication – written messages on pieces of paper carried by Hamas members and collaborators from one location to another. They use the same method now to convey messages to those Gazans who liaise with the leadership abroad.


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