Israeli security chief: Hamas long-range rockets just a matter of time

Monday, May 26, 2008 |  staff writer

Hamas has rockets capable of striking Ashdod, a city about 15 miles north of Gaza, according to the head of Israel’s internal security service, Yuval Diskin.

“It is only a matter of time” before these long-range rockets will be used, Diskin said in a security briefing, adding that a truce with Hamas would be useless.

“Hamas is preparing for another round of escalation,” Diskin explained. “Time is in Hamas’ favor and the threat on Israel is only getting worse.”

In fact, Hamas is looking to buy time to strengthen its capabilities. Arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip is continuing and the products are getting more lethal. Iran, Diskin said, is trying to transfer more sophisticated rockets to the Gaza Strip.

Diskin also warned that there are attempts to carry out attacks and kidnappings in the West Bank, and said the Shin Bet is trying to foil them.

Hamas blamed the problems on a blockade by Israel of the Gaza Strip and insisted Israel must open the borders before a truce can be reached. Ayman Taha, a spokesman for the movement in Gaza, told Haaretz: “We are demanding the lifting of the entire blockade and Israel is not interested in doing this. This is the central problem at this time "If Israel is worried about a military confrontation with Hamas, then by all means, it should agree to a cease-fire.”

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