Hamas Strengthening Gaza Border Defenses

[Washington Times] Abraham Rabinovich - Israeli incursions into Gaza now encounter increasingly effective resistance from forces organized by militants trained in Iran and by Hizbullah in Lebanon, Israeli officers say. Israel has resumed almost daily operations in Gaza in recent months in what it calls the "security zone," a two-mile-wide swath on the Palestinian side of the fence separating Gaza from Israel. The object of these sweeps is to prevent the militants from digging tunnels underneath the fence or from firing mortars or rockets within the zone. These incursions now are met by forward Hamas units, supported by auxiliaries from other militant groups. Hamas has organized every area with a coordinated network of observation posts and forces that include riflemen and anti-tank units whose rockets also are effective against infantry. "They are building an army," said Gen. Moshe Tamir, commander of the Israeli division assigned to Gaza, "and are trying to build bunkers and mortar positions along the border." He said more than 200 militants have been killed since the beginning of the year. The head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, Yuval Diskin, said Monday that Hamas has smuggled in more than 70 tons of explosives from Egypt since it took control of Gaza in June, bringing the total in its possession to 112 tons. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas forces in Gaza now totaled 15,000 trained men in a military-style structure.

2007-11-02 01:00:00

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