The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Gaza
Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades mobilized their members following growing fears of Israel launching a sudden military or security strike.
Palestinian informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that since recent increase in Israeli maneuvers, Hamas has stepped up alertness among its members. The movement devised urgent and defensive contingency plans including several scenarios in case of Israeli attack, similar to Israel’s three wars on Gaza in recent years.
The plans were distributed to the movements’ members of both the security and military branches, within Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades, along with the security and military services of the government, according to the sources.
Other sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement had set up checkpoints in various areas of the Strip and tightened its control over land and sea borders, pointing out that security forces were required to remain alert and report the situation.
Hamas distributed the instructions on these developments to its members , which also reflect the movement’s fears that ISIS members could assassinate movement leaders or security and military officials.
It seems that Hamas is afraid of repeating Israeli scenarios, including the sudden assassination of a senior leader of the Qassam Brigades or the movement, as happened in 2012 when Ahmed al-Jaabari was killed, which led to the war on the Strip.
Hamas also seems worried that certain Shin Bet security agents could resort to assassinations as in May last year, when they killed Mazen Fuqaha, the prisoner released during 2011 deal.
Among the likely scenarios is Israel’s assassination of Ismail Haniyeh, head of the movement’s political bureau, after the United States listed him on itsterrorist list.
Following the recent updates, Hamas commadners are under tight security conditions, especially that Israeli reconnaissance planes are always flying over the Strip.
Despite these measures, which raised Gaza residents’ fears of a possible war, officials confirmed the movement will not initiate, and others said they do not expect clashes to erupt at this time.
An official told Asharq Al-Awsat that it is unlikely for Israel to initiate a war, at least for the time being, and that the confrontation could be delayed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government “does not seek war” but will do “everything” to defend the country.
He told the ministers, “as I made clear to President Trump and later to European leaders and to President Putin, our presence here is the main factor hindering the expansion of radical Islam, led by Iran and Islamic State, in the Middle East.”
“We do not seek war, but we will do everything that’s needed to defend ourselves,” he reiterated.
Israeli army officials warned Netenyahu that Israel could soon face another war with Gaza as a result of the deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions, according to Israeli television reports.
They warned that if the humanitarian crisis continues, Israel is liable to find itself drawn into another round of fighting with Hamas.
The officials are even considering sending food and medicine to the Strip in an effort to prevent the deteriorating conditions from becoming military confrontation.
Israeli security sources indicated that the difficult situations in Gaza increase the possibility of clashes, although they reiterated their belief that Hamas is not interested in another conflict with Israel.
An economic collapse would make such a scenario inevitable in the future, which is denied by Hamas leaders.
Source:Al sharq Al Awsat