- On December 26, 2021, the joint operations room of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, headed by Hamas, announced they would hold three days of military exercises called Firm Pillar 2, having held Firm Pillar 1 at the end of 2020 (“firm pillar” is a phrase taken from the Qur’an to send a message of unity). All the military terrorist wings of the terrorist organizations participated. The final exercise was held at the al-Qassam Shuhadaa (martyrs’) Hamas post in Rafah on December 29, 2022, attended by prominent representatives of the military terrorist wings, among them Ayman Nofal from Hamas’ Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Khaled Mansour from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Jerusalem Brigades, and Abu Mujahed from the Popular Resistance Committees’ military terrorist wing (al-Jazeera TV, December 30, 2021). On December 14, 2021, before the joint exercises, Hamas’ military terrorist wing held its own exercise called Defender of Jerusalem.
- The joint exercises were held after continuing threats from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip that they would gradually increase the level of their violence because of what they called the “delays” in Israel’s providing measures to ease daily life for the Gazans and in rebuilding the Gaza Strip. The organizations issued a joint statement noting that they had discussed the issue of increasing multilateral coordination in scenarios of escalating the violence against Israel and warning that delays in providing measures to ease the situation in the Gaza Strip and the end of the [so-called] “siege” could cause an “explosion” at any moment.
- Military terrorist wing spokesmen claimed the objective of the joint exercises was to examine their return to combat readiness after Operation Guardian of the Walls, the level of their preparedness and the coordination among all the military wings of the organizations in the Gaza Strip, and to ensure the “resistance’s” capability to defend Jerusalem in another round of fighting with Israel (al-Akhbar, December 18, 2021).
- Gazan commentators said beyond examining capabilities, the objective of the exercises was to send Israel the message that the organizations were ready for a confrontation, given what was described as “increasing Israeli aggression in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and against prisoners in Israeli jails” (Filastin al-Yawm, December 29, 2021).
- During the final exercise Ayman Nofal from Hamas’ Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades said the exercises ensured the unity of the Palestinian factions and was meant to send Israel the message that the issue of the prisoners was their top priority. He also claimed that after Israel had completed constructing the security border around the Gaza Strip it would not protect it. He added that the final exercise was being held in an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades training facility where the abductors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had trained (al-Risalah Twitter account, December 29, 2021).
Ayman Nofal at the final joint exercise (al-Risalah Twitter account, December 29, 2021).
- Khaled Mansour, senior figure in the military terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was interviewed during the exercise and said that they still had accounts to settle with Israel, there were still Palestinian prisoners [in Israeli jails] and the “land is still occupied.” He said the exercises paved the path to liberation and “resistance” (al-Jazeera TV, December 30, 2021).
Khaled Mansour from the PIJ’s military terrorist wing, interviewed during the final joint exercise (al-Jazeera TV, December 30, 2021).
- On December 29, 2020, the joint operations room held their first joint military exercises. They lasted only 12 hours but were held throughout the Gaza Strip with the participation not only of the terrorist organizations’ military terrorist wings but also of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip. They included many elements that were absent this year, such as rocket fire towards the sea, underwater training and shore landing, evacuating military command centers, headquarters and government offices during an emergency situation, penetrating into Israeli territory through tunnels, etc. Apparently this year emphasis was placed on ground fighting against IDF forces to overcome the barrier Israel constructed, attacking tanks and abducting soldiers.
 For further information, see the January 5, 2021 bulletin, "The first military exercise was held under the command of the joint operations room of all the terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. Its objective was to send messages of unity and improved military capabilities." ↑