Sources in Gaza say Hamas has started to prepare for next conflict with Israel, group said shifting war strategy in wake of Iron Dome, from long-range missiles to short-ranged mortars, coupled with multiple terror cell attacks.
By Elior Levy, YNET
Building materials intended for Hamas in Egypt (Archive photo)
Hamas has been commandeering building materials transferred into Gaza Strip for its reconstruction by Israel for the purpose of rebuilding its offensive ‘terror tunnels’, Ynet has learned from sources inside Gaza only four months after a 50-day war which saw Israel target the tunnels.
Gaza was blockaded by Israel and Egypt for years before the summer’s Operation Protective Edge, which ended in August, partly because terrorists were using materials to build fortifications and tunnels under the border. Only in mid-October did Israel allow new materials to begin entering the Strip and their oversight was a key point in the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.
After the war, Hamas understood that the tunnels were pivotal to their fight against Israel, and thus after months of keeping a low profile, Hamas’ military wing has begun to reconstruction on their strategic asset.
According to Palestinian sources in the Strip who spoke to Ynet, after Israel allowed the flow of limited goods and materials into Gaza, a black market for mortar emerged, allowing Hamas to renew construction of concrete slabs used to line the inside of the tunnels.
As a rule, Hamas has already begun preparing for the next round of fighting with Israel. As part of this effort and in addition to reconstructing the tunnels, Hamas has also reportedly begun rebuilding its missile and rocket arsenal from what is called “dual-use” materials, like iron, which can be used to create weapons.
These types of materials are also smuggling in illegally through the Rafah crossing with Egypt or through the sea. Smuggling tunnels reaching into Egypt are also used, though few remain after Egyptian authorizes crackdown on the Sinai border a few months ago, destroying the majority of the tunnels.
In recent weeks Hamas has also tested a number of rocket, conducting a number of test laucnes into the sea.
In wake of the Iron Dome missile defense system’s impressive sucuess during the war — according to the IDF, the system shot down close to 80 percent of rockets fired at Israel — Hamas has come to understand that short range mortars which fall under the system’s radar are more effective than mid-range missle fired at Tel Aviv only to be shot down midair. A short-range version of Iron Dome is said to be in the works, though it is not yet operational.
Hamas are now formulating a new war strategy according to which the next round of fighting will see large groups of terrorist penetrating into Israel through tunnels in the hopes of hitting the army and civilians behind the front line. It is possible this new strategy was inspired by Hezbollah’s fighting tactics along Israel northern border with Lebanon.
Hamas has also appointed two new regional commanders, replacing Raid al-Atar, the Rafah regional …read more