The Middle East Newsline has learned from Israeli security sources that there is a distinct possibility that Hamas has achieved the capability to torpedo Israel’s parliamentary elections on Feb. 10.
Israeli government sources confirm that Hamas could fire salvos of missiles and rockets that would prevent hundreds of thousands of people in central and southern Israel from voting in Knesset elections.
They said Hamas has threatened to wield this option in an effort to win concessions, including open borders with Egypt and Israel as well as international aid.
“Right now, we face a situation where Hamas could wipe out the election process within moment’s notice,” a government source said. “If Hamas doesn’t agree to a cease-fire, then there could be chaos next week [during the elections].”
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On Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened what officials termed an emergency meeting of military and intelligence chiefs on the subject of the Israeli elections. Mr. Barak was said to have sought intelligence assessments of Hamas capabilities and intentions as well as the feasibility of an immediate ground operation in Gaza.
The Israeli intelligence community has assessed that Hamas was being encouraged by Iran and Syria to torpedo the Israeli elections. They said Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Masha’al and five members of the political bureau were receiving tens of millions of dollars in aid as well as instructions during their visit to Teheran in early February.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com