Hamas is exploiting the relative calm in Gaza to prepare for the kidnapping of more Israelis, according to Hamas's official newspaper Alresalah, quoting sources labeled as "reliable."

In an article published Sunday, Palestinian officials predicted that if Israel launches more attacks on Gaza, this may lead to the death of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, "and Hamas's bargaining chip will disappear." As such, the article says, Hamas does not want the issue of the prisoner exchange deal to be based only on Schalit, and therefore the movement seeks to kidnap more Israeli soldiers.

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In light of the recent calm, "Hamas is quietly investing in the relative lull in Gaza to prepare for kidnapping operations of IDF soldiers" taking into account the likelihood that such action would incite a renewed IDF siege on Gaza, Alresalah cited senior official sources as saying.

According to the article, the last time Palestinians attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers was during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. Hamas's military wing apparently discovered that three members of its special unit managed to kidnap a soldier east of Gaza City, but Israel destroyed the house where he was hidden, killing everyone inside including the soldier, the article said.

The Alresalah article, which has not been validated by any Hamas officials, quotes Palestinian security analyst Dr. Hani Basus who claims that another kidnapping scares Israel very much because it will cause it to pay a heavy price and to answer to Palestinian demands.

Another Hamas-affiliated analyst quoted in the article said "resistance factions may at any moment change the equation, instead of talking about a prisoner exchange deal, they could start talking about new kidnappings."

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