Jan 2, 2008

Hamas averages 8.2 missiles a day in 2007, steps up Iran-Syrian-backed preparations for full-scale war.


The annual report of Israel’s domestic intelligence service, Shin
Bet, paints a troubling picture of a Hamas-ruled government in
Gaza expanding its efforts to build a war machine capable of
taking on Israel in full-scale military combat, with active input
from Iran and Syria.

In the outgoing year, Hamas and its allies fired more than 1.300
Qassam missiles and 1,700 mortar shells from Gaza, subjecting
Israeli communities in an expanding radius to a daily average of
8.2 projectiles. At the same time, the Shin Bet and IDF were
strikingly successful in their preventive campaign. They thwarted
29 major attacks inside Israel originating in Gaza, and the
number of Israelis killed by terrorists declined from 50 in 2005
and 24 in 2006 to 13 in 2007.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians mounted a total of 2,946
Palestinian terrorist attacks, 9 less than 2006, including a
single suicide bombing in Eilat and another three that were
intercepted in time.

No let-up is expected next year. In 2007, Hamas smuggled into
Gaza more than 80 tons of explosives for use in the fabrication
of missiles and bombs, including roadside devices laid down
against an Israeli military incursion. Al Qaeda and its
Palestinian affiliates recently stepped up their participation in
attacks, more conspicuously since Fatah al Islam set up
operations in Gaza after being thrown out of its northern haven
in Lebanon four months ago. Israeli officials said that Osama bin
Laden’s threat to “liberate every inch of Palestine” is being
taken seriously.

The Shin Bet reports that hundreds of Hamas operatives were
smuggled through the Sinai tunnels out to Iran and Syria and back
for special 2-6 month courses at facilities near Tehran and
Damascus in commando combat and the manufacture and launching of
missiles. Among them were officers and naval commandos.

The Shin Bet report notes that Hamas’ smuggling projects spread
out from Gaza to the West Bank, where a new terror machine is
taking shape. Local terrorist elements are being taught to
manufacture and use Qassam missiles and high-trajectory weapons,
thereby bringing Israel’s central coastal cities, including Tel
Aviv, within range. Scores of West Bank Hamas activitists were
also sent to Iran and Syria to study missile manufacture.

During most of 2007, Iran’s Lebanese surrogate, Hizballah, funded
the West Bank project at the rate of the equivalent of $10
million per month. The transfers slowed in recent months. The
Shin Bet reports that Hizballah is diverting more funds to
building its own substantial new infrastructures in South Lebanon
and north of the Litani River.