Shouting against Israel in Gaza
Shouting against Israel in GazaFlash 90

Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authoreda book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva

On Saturday, Hamas took a page out of Hezbollah’s playbook for wars with Israel by launching a sophisticated roadside bomb attack on an IDF jeep patrolling the Gaza border.

The Israel Defense Forces later revealed the patrol was hit by two improvised explosive devices (IED’s) which were detonated by remote control, a tactic used by Hezbollah during the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

One IED was connected to a flag pole displaying the Palestinian flag that had been attached to the security fence during a large demonstration by Palestinian Arabs on the Gazan border last Friday. A second large device had been buried in the ground during the same protest which was organized by the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza.

The well-prepared assault on the IDF jeep, which injured four Israeli soldiers, two of them critically, showed that Hamas and the other so-called Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza are indeed “looking for other options to hit Israel,” as Arutz 7reported in January.

The ‘new’ tactic was used after Israel proved it can virtually neutralize every rocket launched at southern Israel from Gaza and developed what is dubbed ‘an underground Iron Dome’ in order to combat the increasing threat of Hamas’ terror tunnels.

Hamas’ roadside bomb attack on IDF forces near the security fence on the Gaza border area followed an attempt to introduce the weapon in Samaria.

At the end of January, Palestinian journalist Abu Khaled Toameh reported that PA security forces had seized and dismantled12 IED’s north of Tulkarem in Samaria and arrested seven men who were suspected of having ties with Hamas.

The discovery of the IED’s was another indication Hamas was copying Hezbollah’ tactics and came a couple of days after military analyst Ya’acov Lappin reported Hezbollah’s Unit 133 was operating in Judea and Samaria.

The Hezbollah unit recruits Palestinian Arabs for the forming of new terror cells and helps them with training and funding, according to Lappin.

The execution of the sophisticated roadside bomb attack was not the only novelty introduced during the confrontation between Hamas and Israel on Saturday.

According to its military arm Izz ad Din al Qassam, Hamas used another new weapon after the cross-border attack.

The terrorist organization announced it had fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli warplanes which attacked at least 18 Hamas targets in Gaza, another indication Iran is trying to transform the Sunni Islamist group into a more effective fighting force.

“Iran’s support to the resistance is the main priority now,” the commander of the Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qassem Soleimani said after a meeting with Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri at the end of 2017.
The roadside bomb attack Saturday followed the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran last Shabbat and could be the beginning of a war of attrition between the IDF and its Iranian-backed foes.

Hamas is increasingly cooperating with Iran and Hezbollah in order to organize deadly terror attacks on Israeli targets and to prepare the ground for a large-scale coordinated attack on Israel which they think will lead Israel’s demise.

“Iran’s support to the resistance is the main priority now,” the commander of the Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qassem Soleimani said after a meeting with Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri at the end of 2017.

Al-Arouri, who is currently residing in Hezbollah’s stronghold Dahiyah in Beirut, visited Tehran again last week.

He attended a memorial ceremony in honor of the late Hezbollah’ terror mastermind Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated by the Mossad and the CIA in Damascus, Syria at the beginning of 2008.

His visit to Tehran was the fifth trip to Iran in seven months and followed statements by both Soleimani and Hamas leaders who hailed the renewed ties between Iran and the Palestinian terror movements and promised they would soon wipe the “ carcinogenic entity” from the face of the earth.

Speaking during the ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of Mughniyeh’s assassination last week, Soleimani promised to punish “the Zionist entity” for spilling the former Hezbollah’ terror chief’s blood by “wiping out” the Jewish state.

The so-called ‘Islamic Resistance’ of which the Palestinian terror groups are members is clearly upping the pressure on Israel, as has become clear from recent events.

Iran first provoked Israel by attempting to set up camp in the demilitarized zone on the Golan Heights and apparently ordered Hezbollah and its allies in the Lebanese government to stir up a new confrontation between Lebanon and Israel before sending a large drone into Israeli airspace on Saturday Febr.10.

Hamas recently resumed shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria and allowed renewed rocket fire at Israel from the territory under its control.

The Islamist terror group is reportedly also seeking to set up a missile base on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and has already created a “terror infrastructure” in south Lebanon, according to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

At the same time Hamas is exploiting the self-created worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip to fuel Palestinian hatred against Israel and to take the conflict with the Jewish State to a different level.

One of the actions Hamas and the other Iranian proxies in the Gaza Strip are currently contemplating is storming the Israeli border with large numbers of protesters under the pretext of breaking the non-existent ‘Israeli blockade’.

This weekend’s events could therefore be the harbinger of more serious trouble for Israel.