How Hamas has changed from a mere rogue extremist group into an organised force:
“I would say Hamas are very professional, yes absolutely. In each city they have a commander and brigades and battalions; they are very organized. They have mostly lost a lot of their simple fighters, but not their top men.”
Shlomo Brom, a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and a retired brigadier general, said it was wrong to consider Hamas a group of irrational fanatics.
“I have always said that Hamas is a very rational political movement,” he said. “When they use suicide bombings, for example, it is done very consciously, based on calculations of the effectiveness of these means. You see, both sides understand the value of calculated madness. That is one reason I don’t see an early end to this ongoing war.”
“In previous times, the fighters would confront and throw themselves at Israeli attacks,” said one man close to Hamas who declined to be identified further. “It was a kind of suicide. It was love of martyrdom. You go and confront the tanks and many were killed, 80 in a few days.”
“This time it was different,” he added. “They have more experience and they have training from Syria and Iran. They helped them rethink their strategy. They fired rockets in between the houses and covered the alleys with sheets so they could set the rockets up in five minutes without the planes seeing them. The moment they fired, they escaped, and they are very quick.”