Internal strife and in-house fighting between Fatah and Hamas has created a "terror vacuum" among the various armed Palestinian groups which the Islamic Jihad is trying to fill, senior security officials warned this week.
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"The situation in the Palestinian Authority is unstable and it is still unclear where things are headed there and if Hamas will stop its terror activity," a senior security official told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday. "The one thing that is for sure is that Islamic Jihad will try and step up its attacks against Israel."
Islamic Jihad, the officials stressed, did not have a diplomatic branch like Hamas and was solely dedicated to Israel's destruction. "They are not interested in politics or diplomacy," the security official said. "With Hamas almost out of the picture they now have the chance to lead the armed Palestinian struggle."
Hamas, the official said, was still involved in anti-Israel terror activity despite its landslide victory in last week's Palestinian parliamentary elections. Despite Hamas's win in the elections, the official said, the number of terror alerts registered by the defense establishment has stayed the same at 50 and has not decreased. Hamas, the official said, continued to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel but under the disguise of unassociated Palestinian gangs.
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"Hamas itself doesn't pull the trigger," the security official said. "A lot of the times it works through local gangs in Gaza and the West Bank and supplies them with rockets and weapons and they carry out the attacks."