Israel has determined that Hamas and its allies developed enhanced capabilities to reach strategic facilities in the Jewish state. Security sources said Hamas established sleeper cells to enable strategic operations in Israel. They said the cells allowed Hamas to smuggle fighters and weapons for attacks on Israel’s military and security establishment, including one that took place near the Defense Ministry on June 8.
“It is clear that they spent time planning and training and choosing their target,” Barak Ben Zur, a former senior official of Israel Security Agency, said.
At least four Israelis were killed and six others injured in a shooting attack in a restaurant near the Defense Ministry in northern Tel Aviv, which includes military headquarters. The sources said two suspected Hamas operatives, who infiltrated from near the West Bank city of Hebron, were disguised as Orthodox Jewish diners.
“They got some support, although we don’t know for sure who their supporters are,” Ben Zur, who headed ISA’s research division, said. Hamas praised the attack, the first in Tel Aviv in 2016, but did not claim responsibility. Israeli authorities captured the suspected attackers but did not release information.
The sources said Hamas has maintained a sleeper cell network in virtually every major Israeli city, including Tel Aviv. They said Hamas and its allies recruited from the large community of illegal Palestinian laborers in Israel.
“I do not intend to speak and detail the steps we intend to take,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. “But I am sure that I have no