Hamas’ search for terror ‘victory’ denied by IDF at every turn

The organization is trying for a successful terror attack or bombing before retiring from the current round of fighting, something the IDF has so far denied them.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hamas is trying for a last hurrah in the form of a successful terror attack before a ceasefire to show its people a victory, but the IDF has thwarted every one so far, an IDF officer told a press gathering Wednesday.

Israel has blocked Hamas rockets, drones, tunnels and even a submersible during the current conflict. In one case, the IDF even took control of a remotely controlled Hamas drone and dropped it back on its handlers, killing two.

The senior officer in the Southern Command said that at least three cross-border raids have been attempted in recent days. The terrorists were trying to use tunnels that go up to, but do not cross, the border, as the IDF has completed an underground barrier that has blocked the way into Israel.

In two cases, the IDF bombed the tunnels while the units were inside, and in the third case they hit the team before it got inside the passage.

Eighteen elite Hamas terrorists were killed in these attacks, according to a report on Channel 20.

A win for Hamas would have been entering one of the villages in the Gaza envelope and murdering as many Jewish civilians as possible, or the kidnapping or killing of soldiers guarding the border. Not taking anything for granted, the IDF has reinforced the area with extra ground forces just in case an infiltration of any kind is successful.

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Another possibility for a show of victory is a particularly heavy bombardment of the heart of Israel, such as the Tel Aviv area, that would show off the deadliness of Hamas’ long-range missiles. Although the terrorist organization has only a few hundred of them, versus thousands of shorter-range rockets, they could launch many dozens at once to try and overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome system and score a major hit.

The IDF has been working hard to thwart such barrages, and has destroyed dozens of missile launchers along with their crews. The officer said that over the last 10 days the army has figured out new methods of finding the launchpads quickly, including using drones in a better way, although he acknowledged that the rockets “are still a very big challenge.”

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have indiscriminately shot over 4,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities since beginning their attack on May 10. They have also fired anti-tank guided missiles over the border, one of which hit a military jeep and killed IDF soldier Omer Tabib a week ago.

In the latest such attack Thursday morning, a Kornet missile destroyed an army vehicle that was fortunately empty at the time. One soldier was lightly wounded from a piece of shrapnel from one of the mortars launched during the assault.

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One weapon in the Hamas arsenal that it has yet to use is a locally made rocket loaded with hundreds of kilograms of explosives designed to create a massive explosion.

The danger is to villages on the border, as the heavy missiles are short-range. They would be hard to intercept due to their short fly time. The IDF said it destroyed one of these rockets Wednesday before it could be launched, but it’s estimated that the terror group has several more hidden away.

It is an open question whether Hamas would prioritize a symbol of victory over a truce, considering how badly it has been damaged by the IDF. A Gazan source told Channel 20 that Hamas has been asking Egypt to intervene with Israel for the last three or four days on the matter, and has been gradually lowering its inflammatory rhetoric regarding Jerusalem, knowing that Israel would use such demands as a reason to keep the airstrikes going.

Hamas has in fact just sent a letter to its activists saying that it will soon announce a ceasefire and that the people should be ready to go out immediately to demonstrate while waving Hamas and Palestinian flags.

“You must gather the masses in all the mosques and the media must cover [everything] and … review the events immediately on the special social media pages,” the terror organization instructed.

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Jerusalem has not agreed to any ceasefire as of yet, although international pressure for one is growing, with President Joe Biden telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday that he “expected a significant de-escalation today.”

Netanyahu has said that Israel is seeking to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities for the long term. Most of the Israeli public is behind him in these efforts.