Hamas terror operatives in Gaza tunnel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two weeks after Operation Protective Edge ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, Hamas is readying itself for the next round of fighting with Israel, a senior diplomatic source said Sunday.
“They are already preparing themselves,” the source said, adding that Israel has detected Hamas smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.
Likewise, he said, Hamas is working to restore the terrorist tunnels in Gaza, as well as to build up its rocket manufacturing capabilities.
Gaza’s rocket manufacturing capacity is currently 40 percent of what it was at the outset of Operation Protective Edge, and the Palestinians were continuing to build rockets, the source said.
The official said just as Hamas prepared itself following Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 “step-by-step” for the next round, it is already starting to do the same thing now.
Security sources, meanwhile, called into question this assessment, saying they were unaware of this information, and that it was “not clear” upon what information the assessment was based, or from where the information was drawn.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that preventing Hamas from rearming was a key condition to ensuring prolonged quiet for the South, one of the two objectives he set out at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. The other objective was to hit Hamas hard and significantly denigrate its military capabilities.