Over the past two weeks, the Mujahideen Brigades have published two videos in a series entitled “The Beating Heart of a Nation.” The videos were published to demonstrate the capabilities the militant group possess in what it sees as its resistance against Israel.
The Mujahideen Brigades is the armed wing of the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement. The militant faction is primarily based in the Gaza Strip and follow the same stance of many other factions in Gaza. Its primary role is one of armed guerrilla warfare against Israel.
The first video in the series depicts various military maneuvers conducted at a training camp in the Gaza Strip.
The first set is titled “Shots of the offensive maneuver carried out by the Gaza Brigade which simulates breaking into and controlling a Zionist site.”
Various camera angles show Mujahideen fighters simulating an attack against a static “Israeli” position.
The second portion of the first video in the series is titled “Shots of the maneuver that simulate that the naval Abrar repel the advancing enemy forces.”
The Abrar naval unit is shown exiting the water carrying an AK variant in hand with explosions occurring around them. The assault by the naval unit occurs against a simulated target and the fighting unit retreats into the Mediterranean after their objective is completed.
The second publication in the series focus on attack and defensive maneuvers by Mujahideen Brigades fighters equipped with small arms and explosives.
The attack maneuver focuses on a commander giving orders via radio to fighters in the field during a simulated attack on an IDF position by several groups of fighters.
The most notable portion of the series is found in the latter half of the second publication.
Mujahideen Brigades demonstrate its ability to observe Israel Defense Forces (IDF) naval activity off the Gaza Strip’s coast, as well as a display of their anti-air capability with a Soviet-made Strela.
The series ends with a Mujahideen Brigades spokesperson stating “We dedicate these maneuvers to our people in the West Bank and al Quds. To those stationed in the squares of al Aqsa Mosque, we call on them to clamp down on these usurpers, their soldiers, and set fire to their homes.”
Analysis of capabilities compared to Gaza’s other militant groups
Mujahideen Brigades’ military capability compares similarly to the other small militant groups in the Gaza Strip. Small arms, rocket propelled grenades, locally-manufactured mortars and short-range rockets make up the majority of the military capability the group possesses.
Like some of their militant counterparts such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, Mujahideen Brigades also has its own political movement that strive to be a part of a future Palestinian government.
However, the gap in military capability between Mujahideen Brigades and the larger militant groups is evident by comparing the publication of each groups’ military maneuvers.
As an example, Hamas’ military wing, al Qassam Brigades, launched war maneuvers during the Spring of 2018. In the war games, they used mock IDF tanks, drones and tunnels. The effect of the war maneuvers in the surrounding atmosphere was so powerful, it triggered the IDF’s Iron Dome aerial defense system to launch interceptor missiles towards the Gaza Strip at rockets that weren’t there.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is another militant group that exceeds what Mujahideen Brigades is capable of. Specifically, their rocket arsenal have the range of striking targets close to the Gaza border and as far away as Jerusalem which lies approximately 50 miles east. What is also noteworthy is that many of the rockets are locally manufactured by the group who received its know-how from Iran’s IRGC Qods Force.
This type of equipment and military structure is absent in recent and past publications of the Mujahideen Brigades.
What Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have that Mujahideen Brigades is lacking is money and support from Iran. The millions of dollars given to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad is used to fund the groups’ projects for weapons and to pay their fighters’ salaries, while the Mujahideen Brigades has of limited resource.
When it comes to Palestinian militant groups, one can tell which groups are financially more stable than others simply by viewing their propaganda videos. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) publish professionally edited videos with slick graphics.
Their fighters in the videos are better equipped with Kevlar vests and military fatigues. Smaller groups such the Mujahideen Brigades and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades publish videos of lower quality and their fighters can be seen lacking the equipment that their counterparts possess.
The Mujahideen Brigades will likely continue down the same path as the other smaller militant groups in the Gaza Strip. Their main role in the resistance against Israel has been of supporting the larger, more experienced factions such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It doesn’t mean they don’t take on operations on their own but until they locate more funding to expand their activities, the group will likely continue their role as one that operates behind the larger factions in the Gaza Strip.
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