Hamas on Saturday held its first ever large-scale military exercise in the Gaza Strip amid rumors that Israel plans to conduct a major ground operation there in the coming days.
Hundreds of Hamas soldiers fully equipped with the latest military gear and weaponry were were filmed by foreign news crews carrying out a mock coordinated assault on an invading enemy.
As Hamas rockets continue to pound communities and military bases in southern Israel, the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is under increasing pressure to launch a broad military operation against Gaza's terrorist infrastructure. So far, Olmert has resisted taking any serious military action, but last week's rocket strike on an Israeli army basic training camp that wounded 67 young recruits was the last straw for most of his cabinet ministers.
When the Israelis do finally come, senior Hamas commanders told The Associated Press they will be ready and waiting. In addition to causing as many Israeli casualties as possible, Hamas will be looking to abduct additional Israeli soldiers. Israeli army Corporal Gilad Shalit has been held by Hamas-aligned terrorists in Gaza for over a year.