IDF: Gaza a major threat to Israel

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Senior Israeli military officials say the government ignored their warnings of what would happen to Gaza following the 2005 withdrawal, and now the volatile coastal strip is a serious threat to the security and internal stability of the Jewish state.

“When we prepared for the disengagement, we mentioned all the scenarios for what might happen in the Strip, including the possibility of a 'Hamastan,'” former IDF intelligence chief Brig.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi Farkash told Yediot Ahronot in a recent interview. Farkash said the political echelon chose to dismiss the worst-case scenarios, and now nearly all of them have become reality.

Another senior army officer told the newspaper that a large-scale military confrontation between Israel and the military force Hamas is building in Gaza is inevitable.

Hamas is believed to have at least 13,000 men under arms in Gaza. The force has been trained by Hizballah and Iranian representatives.

The group has also reportedly moved a huge quantity of advanced weapons and high-grade explosives into Gaza since Israel surrendered control of the strip's border with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in 2005. The arsenal now possessed by Gaza-based Hamas forces is said to include Katyusha rockets of the type utilized so frequently by Hizballah, advanced anti-tank missiles and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.

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