TEL AVIV – Israeli security forces on Sunday simulated responses to a series of terror threats – including a raid on a vacation resort – in the country’s southern region in preparation for large-scale sea and land attacks from the Hamas terror group in Gaza.
Under the supervision of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Israel Police southern district commander Deputy Commissioner Motti Cohen, and head of the IDF Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir as well as several other high-ranking officials, police and IDF units set up fake roadblocks and deployed special units in towns along the southern coast.
“The exercise reviewed the operational ability to provide an initial response to a large-scale terrorist incident, a threat against which the Israel Police prepares throughout the year, and was designed according to the annual training schedule of the Israel Police units,” Israel Police said in a statement.
One of the simulations was an attack from the sea on the Recreation Village in Ashkelon, a port city 7 miles from the Gaza border.
“Hamas is solely responsible for the situation in Gaza,” Erdan said according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry. “Instead of investing money in the population, it is investing in building terror infrastructures and practicing intrusions into the areas of communities in Israel.”
“We are prepared for every scenario: infiltration from tunnels, on land, in the air and in the sea, and for each such scenario, Hamas terrorists will meet determined and trained police forces. Hamas and the residents of the Gaza Strip will pay a very heavy price in the next confrontation, and we will protect Israel’s citizens in every way,” he added.
Hamas has spent hundreds of millions of dollars – most recently boosting its coffers with funds from Iran – on training, weapons and terror tunnels in its struggle against Israel.
Israel has discovered at least four terror tunnels in recent months, including one under the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used to transport more than five million tons of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
The number of trucks bringing in humanitarian aid and goods has decreased by 50 percent in the past half year, an IDF officer said last month. The shortage was due to Hamas concentrating on resiphoning funds towards bolstering its military capabilities.
“A lack of money is not the problem in Gaza,” he said.
Following the discovery of the Kerem Shalom tunnel, the IDF released a statement slamming the group.
“The Hamas terror organization repeatedly chooses to harm the welfare of Gaza residents,” the statement read. “The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip.”