Anticipating Gaza Flare-Up, Iron Dome Deployed in Coastal Region
The IDF prepared to station Iron Dome anti-missile defense units in the coastal region of Ashdod and Tel Aviv on Wednesday, even as an explosive placed on the Gaza security barrier by terrorists was caught and detonated.
IDF forces neutralized the explosive early Wednesday afternoon, on the barrier in the southern part of Gaza. The bomb was detonated on the western side of the barrier, namely inside Gaza, by security forces in a controlled manner, causing no injuries or damage.
The incident highlights the security threat from the Hamas-enclave of Gaza, which has been the source of a constant stream of rocket fire since the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped last Thursday.
A senior IDF source said Wedneday that the army now knows with a certainty that the kidnapping was conducted by Hamas terrorists known to the security system in Judea and Samaria, without the aid of Hamas in Gaza.
The source said that a kidnapping of such a large scale requires many collaborators, look-outs and funding sources. He added that while a clear order was not given by Hamas necessarily, Hamas leader Halad Mashaal's call from Qatar to free the jailed terrorists from Israeli prisons set in motion planning for the kidnapping.
While the kidnappers operated from the Hevron mountains in Judea, south of Jerusalem and south of the spot in Gush Etzion where the teens were abducted, their comrades in Gaza are likely to cooperate by launching a missile barrage the saud source. Therefore, he added that the IDF is preparing to deploy Iron Dome units in Ashdod, as well as the Gush Dan coastal region of Tel Aviv.
Lots of information, but still no location
Speaking about the re-arrest Wednesday morning of 51 terrorists freed in the Gilad Shalit trade, the source said "those of the 100 'heavy' terrorists that had blood on their hands and were released to Judea and Samaria were among arrested last night by IDF forces."
"They will be brought before a judging committee to check if they kept the conditions of the deal. All of them, being Hamas terrorists that were formerly imprisoned, will do everything to release their jailed compatriots," said the senior source.
The source added that the IDF continues to work under the supposition that the three kidnapped teenagers are still alive, even though the specific location where they are being held captive remains unknown.
"We have lots of information, there's a real effort made in investigations, and a military effort, and the military actions are meaningful even though we still have not achieved the information about the location of the kidnapped and the kidnappers," added the source.
When asked why the Hamas terrorists behind the kidnapping still have not claimed credit for the attack, the source estimated that they are highly afraid of the large IDF operation, and likely will only take credit in "another week or month or more."
As for the funding for the IDF operations searching intensively throughout Judea and Samaria, the source said the operation was part of the IDF budget and they would not be requesting additional funds from the Ministry of Finance.