Hamas Preparing For War, Threatens Israel With Palestinian Civilian Casualties

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Hamas is preparing for a war with Israel inside the Gaza strip and dares Israel to attack and cause civilian casualties, a senior advisor to a Hamas Minister told Foreign Policy.

The senior advisor, talking anonymously, elaborated that Hamas controls all the security within the Gaza strip and are well entrenched within the civilian population. The advisor goaded Israel to attack Hamas, telling Foreign Policy, “If they start a war, thousands of civilians will die.”

The preparations for war follow the April 18 suicide bombing of a commuter bus in Jerusalem, injuring 21 people. Hamas admitted the suicide bomber was a member of its organization, but did not claim responsibility for the attack.  The attack was the first bus bombing in Jerusalem in nearly a decade immediately inflaming tensions between Israel and the terrorist led government in Gaza.

Neighbors of the suicide bomber reportedly paid their condolences to his family and Hamas distributed posters hailing him as a martyr.

Israel’s then-defense minister responded forcefully, saying, “If Hamas tries to challenge the State of Israel, or disrupt the lives of Gaza border residents, it will be hit very hard. We will not tolerate such attempts.”

The Jerusalem bus bombing comes on the heels of several knife attacks on Israeli civilians over the course of several months. “What is happening in Jerusalem is a normal reaction to what is happening in the West Bank,” the Hamas senior advisor said.

In 2014 Israel launched operation protective edge as Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the course of fifty days. The operation required Israeli Defense Forces to enter Gaza and shut down their access to illegal tunnels they were using to infiltrate Israeli settlement communities. Many Israeli’s worry they may have to launch such an operation again.

Concerns are high among security experts as reports surface of a new alliance between Hamas and the Islamic State’s affiliate in the nearby Egyptian Sinai peninsula. Hamas relies heavily on smuggling tunnels to the Sinai peninsula, which ISIS has come to control. Israeli officials said the cooperation between ISIS and Hamas extended as far as military training.

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