IDF warns Hamas may kidnap Israelis

Security official: Group wants to bargain for prisoners to boost popularity.

hamas rally hebron 298.8 (photo credit: AP)
hamas rally hebron 298.8
(photo credit: AP)
The IDF is certain that Hamas is trying to boost its terrorist capabilities in the West Bank, while at the same time have chosen to change their tactics in their fight against Israel, a senior intelligence official said Monday. The group's strength on the Palestinian street has waned, largely due to their own missteps including a deadly accident during a Gaza rally on September 23, the indiscriminate shelling of Israel which lead to this month's Operation First Rain, and the killing of PA security officers. "They seem to be going back to classic terrorist attacks," the same official told The Jerusalem Post, "such as abductions in order to bargain for prisoners." In the eyes of Hamas, bargaining for Palestinian prisoners shows that they care about prisoners and Palestinian interests. According to the intelligence source, Hamas doesn't differentiate between kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers, but do consider kidnapping tourists as something that would be detrimental to their image abroad. In addition, the IDF sees a certain infiltration of international jihadist movements into the Gaza Strip. Israel has expressed concern with regards to foreign terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, as well as to the freedom with which they move in the Sinai. However, according to the intelligence source, Hamas has much to lose in an open confrontation with al-Qaida, while affiliation with al-Qaida would de-legitimize it in the world's eyes, as well as in the eyes of the Palestinian street. In Gaza, Hamas is still investing energy in smuggling arms and ammunition through the Philadelphi route, although their pace has been hindered as of late due to what Israel sees as an increased Egyptian effort to stop the smuggling.
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