Hamas Has Reached Pre-2014 War Readiness Levels, Warns Senior Security Official

Palestinian Hamas supporters attend the funeral of militants killed during fire exchange against Israeli forces the previous day in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Maghazi, 21 December 2007.

A senior Israeli security official warned on Tuesday that Hamas has restored its capabilities to the level they were before Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

The unnamed official, quoted by Channel 2, said the terror group has regained its strength in ammunition, as well as its network of terror tunnels.

According to the official, the group has been energetically working to restore its strength and has exploited the relative calm in the Gaza Strip to do so.

A significant part of Hamas’s arsenal is produced in makeshift factories inside the Gaza Strip from improvised materials, due to Israel’s strict supervision of dual-use materials entering the coastal territory.

Recent talks between the group and the Egyptian leadership and the reopening of the Rafah border crossing for three days on Saturday raise concerns in Israel that the group may try to smuggle better weapons and munitions through the crossing.

According to Israeli military intelligence, Hamas is not looking for a confrontation with Israel but is still preparing militarily for such an eventuality.

On Tuesday, operatives from the Hamas military wing held a parade in Gaza commemorating a UAV engineer who was killed outside his home in Tunisia last month.

Mohammed Al-Zoari was shot to death in his car by two men who fled the scene immediately after the shooting.

Hamas has accused Israel’s spy agency Mossad of his assassination. Israel has remained silent on the issue.

A report by Israel’s State Comptroller due to be published soon is expected to find fault with the performance of the government during Protective Edge, according to leaks from the draft of the report published in Israeli media.

During the rally Tuesday, Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida referred to the report and said its chapter on the Hamas tunnel threat proves that the group won the war against Israel in 2014.

“In the coming period there will be more proof of the size of Israel’s failure,” Abu Obeida said.

During the rally on Tuesday, Hamas activists inaugurated a memorial for the Tunisian engineer, and noted that he had visited the Gaza Strip several times and assisted in the groups “resistance” actions against Israel.

“The Zionist enemy will pay the price for the assassination, the account is still open,” Abu Obeida said.

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, who presided over Operation Protective Edge, wrote a letter to State Comptroller Yosef Shapira at the beginning of the week, criticizing the upcoming report.

The report is “wrong and superficial,” Ya’alon wrote Shapira.

“Populist ministers have hijacked you to a tunnel shaft and it is from there that you see the entire campaign. You did not deal with the strategic goals, the international pressures or the real achievements of the campaign of Protective Edge,” Ya’alon wrote.

“Ministers have engaged in petty politics within the cabinet and have engaged in petty politics with you, in the testimonies they gave you, which were slanted and politically-motivated testimonies,” he added.


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