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“Israel exposed a tunnel from Gaza to Israeli community east of Gaza Strip” – Intelligence Bulletin – April 16th, 2016

Intelligence Bulletin – April 16th, 2016

Date of Event: Current

Date Event Reported: April 15, 2016

Date Information Received: April 16, 2016

Information Item: According to Arab sources, Israel Defense Forces exposed a massive tunnel from the Gaza Strip into an Israeli community east of the era of Khan Yunis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, the tunnel dug by Hamas for more than two years, was to be used to conduct a massive attack of Hamas’ Special Forces inside an Israeli community.

Platform of information: known to be associated with Gaza Strip and is generally known as partially reliable.

Source is unknown and its reliability is unknown

Spring is unknown and its reliability is unknown

Possible relevant information: In recent days according to reports on various social media platforms, a person described as a senior official in the Hamas Tunnel Authority escaped to Israel. According to some reports that person was collaborating with Israeli Intelligence, while other reports argue the man kidnapped by Israel. Israeli TV channels report that in the next few days more details regarding what described as “security incident” in the area of the Gaza Strip will be disclosed. In addition, today (April 16th) a Hamas formal spokesman announced that a significant announcement will be delivered by Hamas on Sunday, April 17th. In that context it should be noted that April 17 is marked by Palestinians as a solidarity day with Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails. It should also be mentioned that reportedly, Hamas deployed massive military forces today (April 16th) in the Gaza Strip.

Evaluation of information: Though Hamas leaders have recently announced on different occasions that they have no interest in resuming the fight with Israel at this point, accumulating information supports the possibility that an exceptional security situation indeed took place in the area of the Gaza Strip recently. In that context, accumulating reports suggest an escalating power struggle between the Hamas political leadership and the Hamas military leadership is taking place. According to anonymous Israeli senior officials, Mohammad Def, the supreme military commander of Hamas’ military force, the, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigade, has been putting pressure on Hamas leadership to initiate a military collision with Israel. Thus, it is possible that Hamas’ military force, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigade, was planning to execute an attack using a tunnel, and perhaps imminently in order to coincide with the Palestinian Prisoners solidarity date. The extensive deployment of Hamas’ military forces in Gaza Strip may indicate that Hamas is disturbed with a possible Israeli reaction following the exposure of the tunnel, and by deploying its forces is signaling Israel to avoid a retaliation.

Prediction: In my evaluation, an Israeli retaliation against Hamas in the near future is unlikely to take place. It is possible we will witness a deepening power struggle within Hamas. Such a development may result in a deterioration of the security reality along the Israeli-Gaza border in the near future. Yet, the interest of Israeli, as well as Hamas leaders, to avoid a military collision, together with the behind the scenes involvement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, could diminish such a development. One should also be aware of the possibility that Militant Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip associated with ISIS will try to boost attacks on Israel, hoping to drag the sides into a collision.

End Intelligence Bulletin – April 16th, 2016

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