Israelis can expect another major war with Hamas, perhaps as soon as this summer, according to Housing Minister Yoav Galant. A former IDF General and Southen Command head, Galant said on Army Radio Tuesday that Hamas had increased its capabilities since Operation Protective Edge, and Israel was facing a more difficult battle this time.
“We have to tell the truth,” said Galant. “Hamas is getting stronger and more sophisticated. It has enhanced its abilities, and we have to be prepared appropriately, and be ready to fight even in the near term. I would say that this could happen as early as the summer.”
Galant was speaking a day after the IDF released for publication Monday morning a report that the army had several days earlier discovered a tunnel, apparently dug by Hamas, that crossed under the Gaza fence into Israel territory. The tunnel was discovered via a combination of intelligence information and technological means. According to the statement, the tunnel was a new one, having been dug since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Commenting on the announcement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “the government is investing considerable capital in countering the tunnel threat. This is an ongoing effort that will not end overnight. We are investing in this and will continue to do so with determination. Israel will respond strongly to any attempt to attack its soldiers and civilians. I am certain that Hamas understands this very well.”
“Anyone who is digging tunnels intends to use them,” said Galant. “Hamas is a band of bully terrorists who have taken over Gaza, and we don’t always know in advance how they will act.”