|Israel Resource Review
||18th October, 2006
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: RISE IN ANTI-TANK ROCKET FIRE IN GAZA STRIP OVER LAST MONTH
The number of anti-tank rocket fire incidents in the Gaza Strip has risen significantly of late. During the first two weeks of October, there were 11 incidents of fire, in contrast to only four in September, as revealed by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, www.intelligence.org.il, located in Herzelia, Israel.
Security officials believe that the rise in rocket fire apparently
stems from the arrival of new anti-tank weapons in the Gaza Strip. An
additional reason is the intensive foiling and prevention activity by
IDF forces within the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians made broad use of anti-tank fire during the recent
IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. During the Four Species operation on
Sukkoth, which focused on the northern Gaza Strip and was meant to block
Kassam rocket fire at communities in the western Negev, the forces
encountered strong anti-tank fire and bombs laid by terrorists. Hamas
El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced that their activists had fired
anti-tank fire and mortar shells at IDF forces in the Jabalya area.
During the Rain Man operation which focused in the Khan Yunis area as
well, and was meant to uncover tunnels and capture wanted terrorists,
strong exchanges of fire took place between the IDF and the
Palestinians, which included anti-tank rocket fire, shells, and bombs.
HAMAS OPERATIONAL FORCE IN GAZA STRIP GAINING STRENGTH
At the beginning of the week, the spokesman for the operational force subject to the Interior Ministry in the Hamas government, Aslam Shahwan announced that the government was considering doubling the number of operational force personnel to 5,500 armed men from various factions.
Shahwan told the Jordanian newspaper Al Rai that at first the interior minister had set up an operational force of 3,500 armed men, out of the various Palestinian factions, but recently the number has grown. "Today we see that the force is insufficient and therefore we will have to increase it, especially in areas where there are not enough security people to
maintain law and order," announced Shahwan.
The operational force was set up by Hamas in May of this year in
order to deal with the chaos reigning in the Gaza Strip and as a
response to the efforts of Abu Mazen to concentrate control over the
security organizations in his own hands. During the violent clashes in
the Gaza Strip, the operational force served the Interior Ministry as
the main operational arm of Hamas against Fatah and security
organizations under Abu Mazen's control.
Israel and Palestinian sources note that the financing of the force
and its arming is being done by smuggling cash and weapons into the Gaza
Strip via the Egyptian border. This is at a time when the PA has no
money to pay its employees, including police and security services. The
force is made up mostly of activists in the operational-terrorist arm of
Hamas El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, in addition to the operational arm of
Fatah men opposed to Abu Mazen, and activists from the Popular
Resistance Committees. According to a Popular Resistance Committee
spokesman, about 700 of their men are in the operational force.
The operational force is subject to Palestinian Interior Minister
Said Siam. Its commander, as far as is known, is Yousef a-Zahar, brother
of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud a-Zahar. The members of the
force wear blue police uniforms, which does not prevent its opponents
from calling it the "black militia." They patrol the Gaza Strip mainly
in civilian jeeps. This forces allows Hamas to establish the
maintenance, equipping, and financing of its armed terrorists, with the
argument that it is a legal force of the PA.
At this stage the force is used mainly against opponents of Hamas in
the Gaza Strip. However, security officials believe that in the future
the force will also be integrated into terror operations against Israel.
friendly version of this article
Return to Contents
the Israel Resource
The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by
the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in
Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine
You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.