Act of war. By Amos Harel in Haaretz:
Hamas wants to create a “balance of terror” with Israel in the Gaza Strip, in order to deter the Israel Defense Forces from making a major ground forces incursion into the territory, IDF officers have concluded on the basis of the organization’s greatly accelerated munitions acquisitions over the past few months.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 tons of explosives, anti-aircraft missiles and antitank missiles have been smuggled into Gaza.
Senior IDF officers told Haaretz recently that Hamas is working to improve its offensive capabilities, with an emphasis on Qassam and Katyusha rockets, while at the same time establishing a solid defensive position in order to prevent the IDF from entering built-up areas within the Strip. By increasing the range of its missiles, the deadly force of their warheads and above all, by using high-quality blast explosives, Hamas hopes to heighten the threat to the northern and western Negev from the direction of Gaza.
If Hamas succeeds in improving the rockets in its possession, it will be able to store them for months, as opposed to just days, as it does now. That would enable the organization to fire massive salvos at the Negev for days at a time during periods of escalation, as Hezbollah did in northern Israel during the second Lebanon war.