Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal vetoed a plan by the Islamist group’s military wing to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack in an Israeli community near the Gaza border just after the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge, Army Radio is reporting on Wednesday.
Citing Israeli intelligence sources, Army Radio reported that Hamas was set to deploy dozens of armed terrorists poised to cross into Israeli territory from Gaza through one of the group’s underground tunnels just days after Israeli warplanes began pounding targets in the Strip.
The plan is believed to have centered around Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. The mastermind of the operation, Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif, wanted to surprise Israel by carrying out a preemptive attack via the tunnels. This was before the extensive network of tunnels became the focal point of Israeli military efforts.
According to Army Radio, dozens of Hamas gunmen trained for the operation in which they would infiltrate the kibbutz, slaughter a number of civilians, and take a number of others alive as hostages before returning through the tunnels to Gaza.