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(photo credit: AP)
Hamas has yet to suspend its efforts to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel despite having won the Palestinian parliamentary elections last week, a high-ranking IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
According to the officer, the relatively low number of terror attacks in recent months was due to the military's intensive crackdown in the West Bank and the almost daily arrest operations the army carried out in Palestinian cities. On Tuesday, IDF forces arrested 22 Palestinian fugitives throughout the West Bank, including seven Hamas operatives.
"There hasn't been a change in the Hamas since the elections," said the officer who commands a brigade stationed in the West Bank. "They are still highly motivated to carry out attacks and to obtain new technology to advance their weaponry and rockets."
The officer said that the defense establishment had noticed an attempt by the Hamas to train operatives in the West Bank how to manufacture Kassam-style rockets that could be fired at Israeli cities along the coast. According to intelligence received recently by the defense establishment, Palestinian terror organizations have developed long-range rockets with the ability to reach the Sharon region and the coastline.
The senior IDF officer also slammed Military Intelligence's failure to accurately predict the PA election results. He said that MI was made up of people who knew how to analyze the past but did not know how to predict the future.
"Officers who work in the field felt that the Hamas was on the rise and could beat Fatah," the officer said. "Military Intelligence however is unfortunately made up of people who know nothing about what they talk about but have a talent to speak about what they don't know while sounding serious."
While the officer said it was still too early to predict whether Hamas would disarm and recognize the State of Israel, another senior defense official said he expected Hamas to do so in the near future.
"There are some pragmatic people over there," the official said referring specifically to Ismail Haniya the newly elected Hamas leader in Gaza. "He is someone we could be able to talk to in the future."
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