IDF: No major threat from Hamas but Islamic Jihad has ‘explosive potential’

Israeli intelligence sees war in Gaza possible due to unpredictability of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel faces no major security threat from Hamas at this time, IDF Intelligence Directorate Chief Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman said on Wednesday at the Israel Defense and Homeland Expo in Tel Aviv.

It has no appetite to take on Israel following the blow it received last month from the Israeli air force after the terror organization launched hundreds of rockets at the South over a weekend.

“Hamas is extremely deterred from war and is willing to stay on some kind of track of a [cease-fire] arrangement,” Heyman told his audience. “They very much do not desire war.”

The “wild card” in Gaza, he said, is the rival Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The much smaller terrorist group “has higher explosive potential,” he said. It is “a highly unstable force that fundamentally still views itself as a resistance group that must act aggressively.” The PIJ, which is a full Iranian proxy, may thus try to drag Hamas into a war it doesn’t want.

This is not a secret that Israeli Intelligence had to ferret out, however, as the PIJ leader publicly threatened war for this summer right after May’s unofficial cease-fire agreement was reached.

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Other threats

As for other security threats facing Israel today, Heyman said that due to the IDF’s constant proactive strikes in Syria, there is “a relative containment” of Iranian entrenchment in that country. Still, “Their motivation still exists,” he warned, “and Iran is searching for other places to entrench itself, such as in Iraq.”

He noted that the “unprecedented pressure from every direction by U.S. sanctions” has led Tehran to threaten to revive its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. Seemingly contradicting most assessments that Iran is very close to a bomb, Heyman said it could fail in its quest.

Heyman dismissed the recent threats voiced by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon. The terror chieftan  boasted on Tuesday that his terror organization had found a way to overcome Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

However, Heyman assured that the IDF knows everything about Hezbollah’s capabilities, “maybe even better than Nasrallah.”