Fearing severe retaliation from the IDF, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal vetoed a massive terror attack last year that would have killed hundreds and involved large-scale civilian abductions.
Hamas had a meticulously planned infiltration plan that the terrorist organization had intended to carry out during the first week of Operation Protective Edge, but it was vetoed by their political leadership, The Jerusalem Post reports.
According to the report, Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, blames the terror organization’s political wing and especially Khaled Mashaal, its leader, for preventing a well-organized attack that would have stunned Israel. It reportedly involved simultaneous incursions into Israel via terror tunnels and the killing and kidnapping of many Israelis in several border communities. It was to have occurred before the IDF began focusing on the Hamas tunnels during Operation Protective Edge. Hamas intended to negotiate an exchange of hostages for terrorists imprisoned in Israel.
The mastermind of the operation, Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif, planned to take Israel by surprise by carrying out the attack via the tunnels just as the Israeli air force was in the midst of its bombing campaign during the summer war, the Post reports. Dozens of trained terrorists would have infiltrated Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, located at the border, slaughtered a number of civilians and taken others hostage, according to IDF radio.
Mashaal reportedly called off the multi-pronged attack at the last minute, fearing severe Israeli retaliation. Hamas officials in Gaza maintain that Mashaal prevented them from achieving a significant feat.
“When the plan was finalized and brought before Mashaal, the political bureau chief rejected it out of hand for fear of the Israeli response,” the Post reports.
“To this day,” the article continues, “the military wing blames Mashaal for denying it an achievement that would have brought it prestige as well as a possible prisoner swap deal with Israel,” according to Israeli intelligence.
Further reports indicate that Hamas has returned to building its military capabilities in full force in preparation for another round of hostilities against Israel. Hamas is building new tunnels with cement purchased on the black market in Gaza from citizens who had received the materials to rebuild their homes.
Hamas is manufacturing and testing new rockets with a long range of 150 kilometers.
(With files from The Jerusalem Post)