|Photo by: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa|
IDF: Hamas trying to activate W. Bank sleeper cells
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Terror organization is attempting to gradually regroup after its infrastructure was destroyed in 2002 operation.
Hamas is attempting to reactivate its sleeper cells in the West Bank, the IDF
Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure was destroyed in West Bank
cities by the IDF following Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and subsequent
But the organization is seeking to gradually
regroup in the West Bank. Its efforts are being thwarted successfully by the IDF
and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which maintain a tight grip on
intelligence and security in the area.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, Hamas is
continuing to convert its terrorist cells into an organized military entity,
said Maj. Guy Aviad, an expert on Hamas and head of the instruction department
at the IDF General Staff’s History Department.
building... regional brigades,” Aviad said.
The terror regime is
also exploiting breaks in between rounds of fighting to better hide its rockets
in underground bunkers, said Aviad, who published a book with the Defense
Ministry titled The Hamas Lexicon.
Aviad, who is due to release an
updated edition of his book, noted that Iran decreased its financial support for
Hamas and its arms shipments, following Hamas’s support for Sunni Syrian rebels.
As a result, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s closest proxy in the Gaza Strip,
is receiving more Iranian cash and arms than Hamas, he said.
Iran first began sponsoring Hamas when 415 of its members were exiled to Lebanon
in 1992 and began receiving training from Hezbollah.
Between 2004 and
2011, Iran was Hamas’s main sponsor, according to Aviad, offering Hamas joint
training courses with Hezbollah, large-scale arms shipments and generous
Meanwhile, last week, OC Central Command
Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon held a surprise drill for the Binyamin Regional
Brigade in the West Bank, after a marked increase in the number of violent
disturbances in the area. Alon called on his forces to increase awareness at all
levels, from commanders to the individual soldiers in light of the rise in
In the drill, Artillery Corps soldiers from the Reshef
Battalion had to deal with rioting, as well as the scenario of “gunmen” planted
within mobs and firing on soldiers.
The Artillery Corps soldiers were
backed by Border Police and civilian police units.
“Cooperation is the
key word. We joined forces with the police, Border Police, IDF observation posts
and others,” said Col. Yossi Pinto, commander of the Binyamin Regional
The Reshef Battalion had only recently returned to the West Bank
from the Gaza border, after taking part in Operation Pillar of Defense. It fired
more than 250 shells at terror targets in Gaza during the conflict with Hamas.