Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned over the weekend that Hamas was arming itself and seeking to conduct what the Israeli official called “a renewal of violence”:
“Hamas sees it as a way to lay infrastructure for terror attacks. We consider Hamas, which is engaged in digging and controls Gaza, as responsible. Calm will be met with calm,” he told daily Ynet News, as he was leaving Soroka Hospital in Beersheva.
Ya’alon’s statements echo increasingly pitched analyst concerns that the Palestinian terror group – which has recently suffered a precipitous decline in domestic popularity and regional influence – may be seeking to restore its stature via a spectacular terror attack.
The warning came a week after Elior Levy, the Palestinian affairs correspondent for Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth, published analysis describing how Hamas would seek, in its next war against Israel, to saturation-bomb Israeli population centers. The group will likely use indigenously produced M-75 rockets, which can reach Israel’s densely packed Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
The Islamist group is building its strength in preparation for future conflicts with Israel. Its goal is to keep these wars as short as possible. Hamas’ military build-up includes amassing M-75 rockets, which have a range of 70 kilometers (43 miles) and can reach the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area. It is safe to assume that as opposed to last year’s conflict with Israel, during the next war the firing of medium-range rockets from Gaza will not be sporadic.
The next war between Israel and Hamas will be different. The Islamist group currently has only a number of M-75 rockets in its possession, but production is continuing at a fast pace. Hamas also has hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Wiki Commons]