“Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. “ (Isaiah 41:11)
Movement in the Gaza Strip indicates that Hamas has withdrawn its security forces that are responsible for preventing rocket fire into Israel. The AFP reported an anonymous security source as saying “The field forces that are posted near the border with Israel were withdrawn yesterday evening to protest the latest escalation and Israeli attacks against Gaza.”
Hamas has stationed along the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip regular forces. However, the withdrawal of the special rocket prevention force, which is comprised of 600 people and deployed last July, indicates that Hamas is readying itself for escalated violence with Israel. The decision to remove its forces was handed down by Hamas leaders in the wake of increased Israeli airstrikes on targets in Gaza.
Last month, the Shabak released a report that terror has dramatically increased along the Israel-Gaza border. In the month of January alone, fourteen rockets landed in southern Israel and five were successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, Hamas has not fired rockets into Israel. All rocket and missile attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip have been launched by other terrorist organizations based. The withdrawal of forces by Hamas indicates a shift of tactics.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz commented on Saturday that should Hamas attack Israel, the Israeli military would have no choice but to reciprocate: “If the drip of rockets from Gaza continues, we will have no choice but to go inside [Gaza] in order to eliminate Hamas, and allow the Palestinian Authority to regain control of the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sent a warning to Hamas regarding rocket fire into Israel. He said Hamas would “pay a heavy price” for any attacks on Israel.
“If [Hamas] doesn’t know how to impose its authority on terrorist organization operating from its territory we will continue to act to make it, and those who are active in terror and fire at Israel, pay a heavy price,” Ya’alon said.