Saraya al Quds reminds Israel that COVID-19 hasn’t slowed jihadist activity

As COVID-19 continues to infect people across the world, Palestinian terror group Saraya al Quds (SaQ) reminded that it has not ceased its jihadist activities against Israel despite the ongoing pandemic.

The video, titled “Our struggle continues” was released on the group’s official Telegram channel yesterday. The video featured SaQ fighters using hand sanitizer and wearing medical gloves as they conducted various jihadist related activities.

The video began with one of the group’s core military assets: an underground tunnel. Fighters in personal protective equipment were filmed descending into a shaft to excavate earth during the construction of a tunnel.

The building of tunnels have become a popular and effective tool for militant groups to conduct operations against Israel. The destruction of attack tunnels were one of the reasons why Israel launched a limited ground operation during the 2014 Gaza war.

Militant groups like al Qassam and Nasser Salah al Din Brigades have used tunnels to conduct cross-border raids against IDF positions. One of the most notable being the abduction of Gilad Shalit in 2006.

Additionally, the video showed a fighter in one of the many observation posts the group has abutting the Gaza-Israel border. Those posts are another mainstay of the group. They are primarily used to observe the IDF’s movements and the activity of Israeli communities located near the border.

The last and most notable scene features the group’s primary means of attacking Israel, its arsenal of rockets. Similar to previous scenes, fighters wore personal protective equipment as they placed rockets into underground launchers away from the view of IDF drones that regularly reconnoiter over the Gaza Strip.

SaQ has a long history of using its various social media channels to promote its activities. It is one group’s most effective tools used for psychological warfare and delivering messages to Israel.

The professionally edited videos — which sometimes contain spelling errors when a message is conveyed in Hebrew — give the impression of a formidable resistance group which elevates its popularity in the Gaza Strip and abroad with each video published.

The group has also used video propaganda to announce newly developed and locally manufactured rockets. In May 2018, SaQ revealed it used a newly developed, short-range rocket called the “Badr-1” against the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon in clashes that occurred in previous days.

In this case, the video’s publication is a message: Despite the ongoing health crisis due to COVID-19, SaQ will continue its militant activities against Israel.

Joe Truzman is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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