Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Confronting Hamas"

An unnamed "senior IDF officer" has given a briefing with regard to the situation in Gaza that is being broadly cited. I am assuming that he remains unnamed because he is criticizing the government; what he has to say must be attended to with the greatest seriousness:

Hamas has developed enormous military sophistication in Gaza since the "disengagement," he says, and Israel has a limited window of opportunity for confronting that threat. That window of opportunity exists both because the world has not yet become accustomed to the Hamas entity in Gaza, and because Hamas has not yet completed its military buildup and thus does not find that it serves its interests to attack us yet. But its ultimate goals are clear.

"They have an organized military. They have the manpower, they have the training, they have the motivation."

Some 13,000 Hamas recruits now constitute a full-fledged army, consisting of four brigades, made up of a number of battalions and platoons. In the past two years hundreds of Palestinians have received training in Iran. Hamas, in the past two months, has smuggled over twenty tons of explosives from the Sinai into the Gaza Strip. They have obtained anti-tank missiles, as well as an unknown number of anti-aircraft missiles. Hamas also reportedly is in possession of old models of Katyusha rockets, and they are working to improve the range of their Kassam rockets.

The IDF, says this officer, has the ability to confront this threat: The IDF Southern Command has operational military plans for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and recently conducted several weeks of training.

"I don't see the Egyptians, the Americans, the Europeans or Abbas, being able to restrain Hamas. Israel is the only one capable of making the change...

"The IDF has gone through the necessary preparations for a widespread operation in Gaza."



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