Hamas and other terrorist organizations have been advancing their military buildup and their readiness for a likely scenario of a future confrontation with the IDF, once the IDF stopped operating in the Gaza Strip as stipulated in the ceasefire which began June 19, 2008.
Weapons and ammunition have been smuggled into the Gaza strip as they were before the ceasefire. More significantly, Hamas has accelerated its training activity and its military buildup, which Hamas publicly announced on Palestinian and Arab media.
(The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center;www.terrorism-info.org.il )
July 8: Two mortars were fired from Gaza at the Sufah crossing, with one falling inside Gaza and the other at the crossing. Israel was forced to close the crossing because of the mortar fire. When the IDF later reopened the crossing, Palestinian terrorists once again fired another mortar at Israel, causing no damage. Israel continued to keep the crossing open. No Palestinian group claimed responsibility. At this point during the ceasefire, 15 Qassams and mortars have been fired at Israel. (JPost.com, Associated Press)
July 25: According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the Jerusalem Battalions, the military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, held training exercises in what were formerly Israeli settlements, evacuated in the summer of 2005. The exercises included live fire from light and middle-range weapons, and RPGs. A well-placed source in the organization told the Ma’an News Agency (July 25) that “the Jerusalem Battalions leadership is exploiting the lull to train more resistance operatives [i.e., terrorists] in preparation for the next stage…”
A military display was also held in Khan Yunis on July 25, during which rockets of local manufacture, IEDs and rifles were exhibited, similar to a display held in the southern part of Gaza City. (Ma’an News Agency)
July 27: At a government meeting on July 27, Yuval Diskin presented data pertaining to the Hamas military buildup in the Gaza Strip during the lull. He said that since the lull arrangement had gone into effect Hamas had smuggled four tons of explosives into the Gaza Strip, 50 antitank missiles, light arms, material for the manufacture of rockets (iron bars) and gunpowder. He added that most of the equipment had been smuggled in through tunnels almost completely under Hamas control. (Ynet News)
July 28: The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades held a military display in Rafah, in the southern Gaza strip. According to a newspaper report, dozens of operatives who had finished intensive military courses participated in the display. It was further reported that training and the manufacture of weapons continue during the lull, and that a number of operatives had been killed “while conducting experiments to manufacture charges more powerful than the shawaz* projectiles in the possession of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades”. (Al-Bayan Center website)
*(The shawaz, “flame” charges are Hamas’s homemade explosively formed projectiles which have higher penetrating capabilities than the projectiles in the hands of the other Palestinian terrorist organizations, and which are based on Iranian and/or Hezbollah technology.)
The ceasefire has been violated more than 22 times by rocket and mortar fire from terror factions belonging to the Fatah network andPalestinian Islamic Jihad.