IDF W. Bank chief: Hamas could take over in days

OC Central Command tells Peres group working to increase influence in education, religious institutes.

Peres Shamni 224.88 (photo credit: GPO)
Peres Shamni 224.88
(photo credit: GPO)
"Without the massive IDF presence in the West Bank, Hamas would take over the institutions and apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority within days," OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni told President Shimon Peres Tuesday as the two toured the Command's main base in Jerusalem. Shamni said Hamas was engaged in a constant effort to increase its influence in the region "and its presence is felt in hospitals, preschools, schools, universities and mosques." Peres was shown a Kassam rocket and launcher captured in Nablus. "Although there are no rocket attacks emanating from the West Bank, we've found rockets produced here, and this tells us that there are [rocket production] labs in the region," Shamni said. Shamni said the Palestinian Authority was exerting great efforts in keeping the public order but was not seriously working to stop terrorists operating in the West Bank. On the other hand, he said, "for the first time in a decade, the IDF, intelligence services and the police have managed to almost completely prevent terror attacks on the home front."