Are we waiting for them to be fully armed?
Last update - 14:41 19/07/2007
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
A senior Israel Defense Forces officer said Thursday that in the past two years Hamas has made a significant leap in the level of sophistication of the arms it is smuggling into Gaza, which he said has reached "import" dimensions.
The officer said Hamas has been able to smuggle in large quant primarily because the border with Egypt has been completely porous following the militant group's takeover of the Gaza Strip.
According to the officer, Hamas recently smuggled 20 tons of explosives into the Gaza Strip in the span of one month. The IDF believes Hamas now possesses a small quantity of anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank rockets, which are most likely Sagger guided missiles.
These types of weapons have yet to be used against Israeli troops in the territories.
The officer said that Israel and Hamas are on a "collision course" in the Gaza Strip, adding that Israel does not have unlimited time to deal a serious blow to Hamas' strengthening in the Strip.
Nonetheless, the officer said Hamas apparently is not interested in a confrontation with Israel at this time, and instead prefers to continue consolidating its power in Gaza, smuggling arms, and carrying out small-scale terror attacks against Israeli targets.
The officer said IDF operations in the Gaza Strip are primarily defensive in nature, with troops penetrating some 2-3 kilometers beyond the security fence.