Jerusalem – Israeli intelligence sources say Gaza’s ruling Hamas faction is preparing to carry out a large-scale strategic terror attack inside Israel.
In the assessment of security sources, the terror attack would mainly aim to kidnap a soldier or soldiers in order to heighten the pressure on Israel to carry out a prisoner exchange deal, in light of the deadlock in the negotiations to free Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cpl. Gilad Shalit. He has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza since 2006.
Israel likewise is preparing to counteract a terrorist infiltration into a community and kidnapping civilians into the Gaza Strip, dead or alive.
Within the monitoring of Hamas’ actions, it has been determined that has smuggled motorcycles into Gaza from Egypt, using tunnels. The IDF has observed intensive training being conducted by a group of motorcycle riders in the southern Gaza Strip.
Using motorcycles in terror attacks is taken directly from Hezbollah’s military doctrine. In the past, it has carried out a series of terror attacks and assassinations using motorcycle riders and bombs.
At the same time, Israeli intelligence sources say Hamas has prepared several dozen car bombs that are supposed to serve for breaching fences or exploding against IDF outposts along the Gaza border.
In recent months, Israeli security sources report, 100s of tons of standard-issue explosives and fertilizer for manufacturing explosives have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip, all in order to arm the car bombs.
As part of the preparations in the central Gaza Strip, Hamas’ Nusseirat battalion carried out a simulation of kidnapping an Israeli soldier, in which about 400 soldiers of the battalion participated.
One scenario exercise included the kidnapping of a soldier, carrying out the activity inside the Gaza Strip, near the fence separating it from Israel. Another scenario included breaching the border fence and kidnapping soldiers from a vehicle moving on the road on the Israeli side of the border.
Apparently, in recent weeks Hamas has built huts near the border and placed lookouts in them. Some of the huts are believed to be intended to conceal the digging of tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory for the purpose of transferring terrorists or bringing in explosives to blow up the tunnels.
IDF lookouts report intensive intelligence gathering being carried out by Hamas about the IDF activity along the border with Gaza by day and night. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militiamen are believed to be studying the IDF’s observation equipment and examining its weaknesses.
It is believed they are examining, for example, how to circumvent the observation equipment by making quick dashes toward the fence in daylight hours, placing a bomb next to the fence without the lookouts having a chance to observe them.
They are also examining the IDF’s response time and its ability to identify these bombs.
The IDF has also identified visits by senior members of the Hamas’ military wing in the border area, including people who would not dare approach the border prior to the tahdia (quieting in Arabic).
Hamas’ preparations for carrying out a strategic terror attack correspond with the report that the Israel’s General Security Services arrested Jamal Abu Dawaba, a member of the organization’s military wing from Rafah.
He was arrested about a month ago with the bedouin who accompanied him. It appears that he was sent by senior figures in the Hamas military wing through the tunnels from Gaza to Sinai, and from there into Israeli territory, with the aim of kidnapping a soldier under the guise of carrying out a drug deal. He planned to drug the kidnapped soldier and bring him into the Gaza Strip through a tunnel in Rafah.
The IDF’s Southern Command plans to cope with the threat by raising the level of alert, changing the patterns of activity and changing the rules of engagement.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008