Hamas Acknowledges Members of Specialized Unit Killed by Israel

Hamas member Mushir al-Masri at a rally commemorating al-Qassam Brigades’ members killed during the May conflict.

On Oct. 26, Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades acknowledged three of its members killed in the May conflict with Israel were members of a specialized Frogman unit.

The group did not detail the deaths of Ali Walid Bris, Muhammed Hassan Abu Samaan and Muhammed Jamal Abu Samaan only noting they were killed in a ‘Zionist bombing during the battle of Sword of Jerusalem.’

Al-Qassam Brigades published martyrdom posters of the three fighters shortly after the deaths in May. However, the group only acknowledged that Muhammed Jamal Abu Samaan belonged to the specialized unit.

The two other fighters, Ali Bris and Muhammed Hassan Abu Samaan, were only described as ‘fighter(s) in the way Allah.’

The circumstances leading up to their deaths is unclear. However, the IDF stated it had targeted Hamas operatives that launched an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) on May 17. Both Muhammed Hassan Abu Samaan and Muhammed Jamal Abu Samaan were killed on May 17, according to al-Qassam Brigades. It’s possible they were a part of the cell that launched the UUV and were subsequently targeted by the Israel Defense Forces. However, FDD’s Long War Journal could not independently verify this information.

It’s also noteworthy to mention Ali Bris was also a member of Gaza’s military police which adds to the increasing evidence of the dual-roles some militants play in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Qassam Brigades’ acknowledgement six months after the deaths of the fighters reveals a pattern of previously undisclosed information about its specialized fighters months and sometimes years after their deaths. In 2017, al-Qassam Brigades published a thirteen-minute video called ‘The Road to Zikim’ which revealed ‘new information’ about a 2014 operation carried out by one of the group’s Frogman units inside Israeli territory.

Hamas’ late acknowledgement suggests it did not want to reveal the role of the fighters who were killed in an effort to control morale during a time where commanders and special units were being targeted and killed by Israel in large numbers. It’s likely more information of this nature will be revealed by the group at a later date.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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