The IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel last weekend that stretched from Egyptian territory in the Sinai, underneath Gaza, to a point 180 meters into Israeli territory, adjacent to the sole border crossing that connects Gaza and Israel. To Ron Ben-Yishai, the tunnel’s existence demonstrates much about Hamas’s plans:
Hamas’s military wing likely counted on this tunnel for smuggling strategic weapons, possibly heavy precision-guided missiles that would be sent to the Strip from Iran through Sinai and serve Hamas in its next conflict with Israel. But that wasn’t its only purpose. Another purpose was to infiltrate Israel and to target the [nearby] communities of Kerem Shalom and Shlomit, and possibly also bomb the crossing on its Israeli side. . . . The [obvious] conclusion is that [Hamas] was willing to sacrifice the Gazans’ welfare and vital needs in favor of a “strategic surprise” for Israel in the Kerem Shalom area.
Those who wondered about Hamas’s leader Yahya Sinwar’s apparent moderation have now received their answer. The restraint practiced by the radical terrorist, [who was among many terrorists released in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit], was simply a way of covering up his intention to carry out a murderous attack in Israel and bypass the Egyptian measures aimed at disconnecting Islamic State in Sinai from Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza. . . .
Hamas and Islamic Jihad now understand, without a doubt, that they are about to lose all of their underground assets. Furthermore, the Egyptians are going to reevaluate their relationship with Hamas in Gaza. As a result, the probability is growing that the two largest terror organizations in the strip will initiate an escalation with Israel, before losing the ability to surprise us [altogether].
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