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Photo: Ofer Amram
Shabtai Shavit
Photo: Ofer Amram
'Time for offense in Gaza'
Former Mossad director tells Ynetnews: IDF has wide range of options to tackle Qassams
The IDF must stop responding defensively to the daily rocket attacks terrorizing Sderot, and take up an offensive posture, former Mossed chief, and Chairman of the International Institute for Counter-terrorism (ICT) Shabtai Shavit told Ynetnews on Wednesday.

 

"The way to deal with this is to talk less about defense and go towards attack. Without going into details. I can say with certainty that the IDF has a very wide selection of options to activate, enabling it to go from a state of defense to attack, where terrorists will be forced to hide," Shavit declared.

 

Shavit has held an array of key positions during his 32 year-long career in the Mossad. Before that, he served in Israel's elite Sayeret Matkal force.

 

Asked why the government was holding the IDF back from going on the offense, Shavit replied, "you will have to ask the government that."

 

'Iran's fingerprints seen in Gaza' 

Addressing the various reports of increased Iranian influence in the Gaza Strip, Shavit said several indicators pointed to Tehran's involvement in Hamas and Islamic Jihad activities.

 

"You can identify methodological techniques, and forms of thinking (among Hamas and Islamic Jihad), not necessarily direct, which point to who stands behind this," Shavit said, adding that he believed "security forces have enough information to see very clear Iranian fingerprints in Gaza."

 

Shavit also stressed the significant role played by Hizbullah agents in Gaza. "For a very long time, we have been aware of connections between Hizbullah and Hamas in Gaza. We have intelligence proof of cooperation, including funding, guidance and provision of means, all from Hizbullah. Having said that, whatever Hizbullah does also represents the Iranians. So all these indicate Iranian fingerprints in Gaza," Shavit explained.

 

"The whole idea of Hizbullah was an Iranian idea aimed at setting up a body on Israel's border which threatens Israel," Shavit said, adding that in the event of air strikes against Iran's nuclear installations, Hizbullah, at the command of Iran, could activate its foreign terror cells to strike Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, similar to the bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community center in Argentina. "I'm not saying this to scare people, we have to be realistic," he added.

 

'Hamas in West Bank making preparations' 

Focusing his view on Hamas in the West Bank, Shavit said that the organization's terrorist cells were "not waiting, they are getting supplies, and getting ready." He added, however, that while the scenario of rocket attacks from the West Bank on central Israel could not be ruled out, it would not be possible for Hamas to act as freely as it does in Gaza, due to the IDF's presence in the West Bank.

 

"We live in very dynamic world. And therefore in the worst case scenario, someone there can aim a rocket and fire it at Israel. But it could never resemble the situation in Gaza, because of the IDF's presence, and the political situation in which the PA and Fatah are in very direct and open confrontation with Hamas," he said.

 

During the ICT's upcoming annual conference, 'Terrorism's Global Impact,' which will be held at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya next week, Shavit will deliever a keynote address to a workshop on Iran.

 

"The conference is a Mecca for many experts the field of counter-terrorism," Shavit said, adding that delegates would be arriving from 50 different countries.

 

"This collective intelligence consists of over 120 experts which will take an active part in the conference. Important messages will come out of this for the world in the war on terror," he added.

 

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