Hamas Rearming While Ceasefire Continues

YERUSHALAYIM -

While the ceasefire holds and Israeli and Palestinian negotiators prepare for the next round of peace talks in Cairo, Hamas is rearming.

Hamas leader Ismael Henieh issued an ultimatum on Sunday that if the blockade of Gaza isn’t lifted by September 25, they will start shooting again.

A senior political source confirmed on Sunday that Hamas has resumed manufacturing rockets and begun rebuilding the more than 30 terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge.

“They are already preparing themselves,” for the next round of fighting, the source said, adding that fresh smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip has been detected since the ceasefire went into effect two weeks ago.

The source said that the terrorists are busily replenishing their rocket arsenal, down to  40% of its capacity at the outset of Protective Edge.

IDF Intelligence is slated to present a comprehensive report in the coming days for the civilian higher echelons concerning the Hamas rearmament.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the press on Sunday that he does not believe that the stated Israeli goal of demilitarizing Gaza is a realistic prospect. Lieberman compared Hamas to the Islamic State, claiming that the Gaza group was no less dangerous than its counterpart in Syria and Iraq.

In addition, Hamas warned on Sunday it would resist any plan to deploy international troops in the Gaza Strip. This was in response to suggestions that a multi-national force would supervise the reconstruction of the enclave and disarmament of terror groups there.

“Hamas will deal with any international troops as a new occupation force,” Hamas representative Ismail Radwan said.