Gaza attack horse 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas almost certainly knew about Monday's large-scale terror attack on the Gaza border involving trucks, bomb-laden horses and suicide bombers, a veteran terrorism analyst told IThe Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"I think it's a bit much to assume that Hamas wouldn't know about trucks and horses packed with explosives, or about a terror operation of this magnitude. The known technique by Hamas is to blame others for the attacks," said Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at both the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and the Institute for Policy and Strategy. The institutes are at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
Iran and Hizbullah both had an interest in inflaming the situation on the Gaza border, and may have activated the terror cell with Hamas's consent, Karmon added.
His comments appeared to be in line with a report by a security source, who said on Monday that the Janud Ansar Allah (Soldiers Loyal to Allah) organization, a small group which is linked to Iran and Hizbullah, carried out the attack.
Karmon added that that reports claiming the al-Qaida-affiliated Army of Islam organization, which is based in Gaza, and which is a rival of Hamas, was behind the assault were unlikely to be accurate.
"When Hamas wanted to, it was able to neutralize the Army of Islam. I don't believe an al-Qaida-linked group exists in Gaza today that has the capabilities of carrying out an attack like this," he said.
Israel has reached a stalemate situation vis-a-vis Hamas rule in Gaza, Karmon said, describing the standoff with Hamas as an "unfinished story" that depended on a resolution of the Iranian crisis.
"There is no way we can reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, which barely controls the West Bank, while Hamas controls Gaza," he said. "We will probably wait until November or December, when the Obama administration has indicated it will take a decision on Iran, before we see any change."
Speaking to the Post, a defense source said he too believed the status quo, in which quiet on the Gaza border would sporadically be breached by a terrorist attack and an Israeli response, would continue for the time being.
The defense source added that "there was no US pressure to open border crossings with Gaza," despite indications to the contrary from US President Barak Obama, who said during his address in Cairo last week that "Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security."
"The US will focus its pressures on Judea and Samaria. Gaza crossings will not be the central issue," the defense source stressed.
While other crossings would remain closed, the humanitarian flow of goods into Gaza would continue, the defense source said. "We've had worse attacks on the border and the crossings didn't close," he said.
"There is a government decision to provide humanitarian aid - fuel, medicines, and food - to Gaza, and this will remain in place."
According to the Foreign Ministry, Israel has kept up supplies of fuel to Gaza through the Nahal Oz terminal, near the scene of Monday's attack, since Operation Cast Lead ended in January.
Over 320,000 tons of aid, including food, medical supplies, vaccines, veterinary medication and equipment for reconstruction of the electricity network have entered Gaza via the Karni and Kerem Shalom border crossings.