Hamas Diversionary Rocket and Mortar Attacks to Kidnap IDF Troops!

Hamas Diversionary Rocket and Mortar Attacks to Kidnap IDF Troops

April 27, 2007


Gaza will cont in

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ue to dominate the news in Israel until the inevitable war breaks out with an attack by Hizbullah and Syria from the north. Hamas, Fatah, (the PA)

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and all the other ungodly home grown internal terrorist groups will attack Israel from within when the attack comes from the north. My guesstimate as to the most likely time for this attack to occur is some point in time between 2008 and 2012, but it is a guess, no more and no less. It is likely minor conflicts will occur between the aforementioned Islamic components and Israel before the ‘big one’ is launched, one of them could occur even before 2008. There have been numerous predictions of a war breaking out this summer, but I suspect it would be more of a conflict than a full blown war.

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I believe the forces of Islam are going to wait to launch the ‘big one’ when they have better chances for it to be successful, which would be at a point in time after American troops are pulled out of Iraq, and a seven or eight year truce (Hudna) had been declared between Israel and the Hamas, Fatah, al- Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and Islamic Jihad.

The two ‘back to back’ articles by Yaakov Katz in the Jerusalem Post, along with excerpts from the two articles which follow, give the latest ‘skinny’ on the Gaza Strip scenario.

Begin Excerpts from Article 1

Despite attacks, large-scale Gaza operation not expected


April 24, 2007

The IDF will not embark on a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip despite the rocket and mortar attacks launched on Israel on Independence Day, security and government officials estimated on Tuesday evening.

Instead, the IDF was expected to carry out a targeted response.

The barrages of Kassam rockets and mortar shells Hamas fired at Israel on Tuesday morning were meant to provide cover for and distract attention from an attempted infiltration by a terror cell, whose members intended to kidnap IDF soldiers deployed along the Gaza border, IDF sources reported Tuesday afternoon.

The sources said that the army’s heightened alert, as well as a quick response by ground troops and IAF helicopters that had been hovering over Gaza, foiled the attempt. According to preliminary reports, no cell managed to cross into Israel.

The IDF has been on high alert in recent weeks, ever since receiving intelligence that Hamas was planning to abduct soldiers in a raid similar to the one near Kerem Shalom in June, 2006 in which Cpl.

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Gilad Schalit was captured.

According to an IDF source, Tuesday’s attack was “Hizbullah-style,” in that the group launched rockets to distract the troops on patrol and provide cover for the cell members’ movements.

Begin Excerpts from Article 2

Analysis: Hamas copies the Hizbullah model


April 25, 2007

Tuesday’s rocket barrage on the western Negev brought back memories of July 12 – the day reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were kidnapped by Hizbullah guerrillas along the Lebanese border.

Back then, the morning started with a barrage of mortars and rockets that served as cover for the Hizbullah squad that abducted the two soldiers patrolling the border.

On Tuesday, the IDF awoke to a similar scenario. Dozens of mortar shells and Kassam rockets pounded the Western Negev, from Ashkelon in the north to Gaza-belt communities in the south. Security officials said they had not seen such a massive onslaught over the past few years.

Hamas quickly took responsibility for the attacks; the IDF – acting on intelligence and other findings from the field – raised suspicions that the rocket fire was meant to serve as cover for the kidnapping of a soldier.

More than anything, the kidnapping attempt – if that’s what it was – has once again proven Hamas’s resolve to continue its attacks, not just shootings or roadside bombs, but strategic attacks like the kidnappings near Lebanon and the abduction of Cpl. Gilad Schalit just outside Gaza last summer.

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Despite joining Fatah in a Palestinian Authority national unity government, Hamas is directly involved in terrorism. Just like the Seder night car bomb attempt in Tel Aviv, the defense establishment believes Tuesday’s attempted kidnapping was approved and directed by Hamas’s entire senior echelon, particularly Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, who has of late made efforts to appear moderate.

The attack also demonstrates the close relationship that has been developed over

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the years between Hamas and Hizbullah, and not just in ideological terms, with both terrorist organizations believing Israel must be destroyed.

Following the Second Lebanon War last summer, Military Intelligence claimed Hamas had “drawn power and inspiration” from Hizbullah’s surprising success in fighting the IDF. Tuesday’s kidnapping attack is evidence that Hamas is learning tactics and operational know-how from its northern ally.

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The use of rockets and mortars as cover for the abduction of a soldier is classic Hizbullah modus operandi and has been used successfully by the group twice: last summer and in 2000, when it kidnapped three IDF soldiers.

Hamas has also adopted Hizbullah’s use of antitank missiles – which wreaked destruction on IDF tanks during the war – and has smuggled an unprecedented number of them into the Gaza Strip from Sinai this year. It is also said to be building underground bunkers and creating Hizbullah-like “nature reserves,” camouflaged systems of tunnels and bunkers that the IDF had difficulty locating and destroying during the war.

With Hamas slowly but surely turning into the Hizbullah of Gaza, the question now becomes, when will Israel decide to do what it did last summer – invade to try to break the terror group’s back?

At the moment, the focus of Israel’s efforts vis- -vis the Palestinians is on the diplomatic track.

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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has committed to meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on a biweekly basis, with a commitment for one of the next meetings to be in the PA. Israel has also accepted US General Keith Dayton’s plan to transfer weapons to the Abbas loyalists in the Gaza Strip. A massive invasi on of Gaza does not appear to be

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on the table.

Begin Excerpts from Article 3

Hamas’ Motivation / Renewed force, renewed force, renewed truce

April 25, 2007

By Ze’ev Schiff

Hamas is under heavy pressure from the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service in the West Bank, and therefore, it resumed rocket and mortar fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Its assumption is that it has an operational advantage against civilian communities in the Negev – an edge it would like to utilize to obtain a cease-fire in the West Bank. However, the chances of Israel agreeing to this are currently nil.

From Israel’s perspective, the main danger is that Hamas will surprise the IDF by kidnapping a soldier or civilian, just as it did last June, when it kidnapped Gilad Shalit and killed two other soldiers.

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This danger should not be underestimated: The IDF’s operational deployment in Gaza is nonideal, entailing various risks.

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Abu Obeid, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, claimed yesterday that Israel long ago abandoned the Gaza cease-fire, and therefore, it no longer exists for Hamas, either. “We will let the missiles talk!” he declared. According to him, yesterday’s attacks were a response to Israel’s “crimes” in Jenin, Nablus and Gaza – though they may also have been meant as cover for an aborted ground operation.

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And in Damascus, Mahmoud Nazel, a Hamas leader, urged all the Palestinian factions to prepare for renewed fighting against Israel.

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Palestinian announcements exaggerated the number of rockets and mortars fired at Israel, perhaps because some landed in Gaza instead. In recent weeks, there have also been several incidents of sniper fire at Israelis by Hamas snipers.

It is clear that Hamas is under heavy pressure in the West Bank. Thus far, all its efforts to step up its operations there have failed.

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Israel has largely succeeded in isolating Gaza from the West Bank, and has thus far prevented virtually all attempts to smuggle rockets into the West Bank or to manufacture them there – though a few primitive rockets, with a very short range, were found near Bethlehem, apparently destined for use against Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. And every week, Israel arrests dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives, as well as Tanzim operatives who receive assistance from Hezbollah.

Hamas views all this as a major operational failure.

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Apparently, there is therefore a growing view within the organization that it is worth heating up the Gaza front again in order to produce new cease-fire talks in which Hamas could achieve a reduction of Israel’s pressure on it in the West Bank. Any such agreement would also make it easier for Hamas to set up Qassam rocket manufactories in the West Bank.

Begin Excerpts from Article 4

Hamas plans to kidnap more soldiers


April 26, 2007

Hamas will resume its efforts to try to kidnap Israeli soldiers to trade them for Palestinians held in Israeli jails, Khalil Abu Lailah, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said Thursday.

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Earlier this week, the armed wing of Hamas, Izaddin Kassam, denied Israeli allegations that its members had planned to kidnap an IDF soldier on Independence Day.

But Abu Lailah, who is a top political leader of Hamas, confirmed that his movement had plans to abduct soldiers.

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“Hamas’s decision to kidnap Israeli soldiers is not just a threat,” he said. “For us, this is a strategic issue aimed at securing the release of all our prisoners from Israeli jails. Hamas has made it very clear that it will continue to kidnap Israeli soldiers until our prisoners are freed. By keeping our people in Israeli jails, Israel will lose more soldiers.”

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