The Israeli military told the country's political echelon Monday that "Hamas and its leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar are riding the latest wave of terror, but are not leading it."
The military's assessment comes on the heels of the arrest of the two Palestinian terrorists behind an axe rampage in Elad, who told their investigators they were not members of Hamas, nor did they receive directions from the terrorist group.
The deadly attack — which claimed the lives of three Israeli — came less than a week after Sinwar called on all Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis using knives or axes.
The military also told politicos that Sinwar should not be seen as the one orchestrating the violence as it would only serve to bolster his prestige in the eyes of the Palestinians. The IDF added that it views the terror wave as a flurry of lone-wolf attacks fueled by religious sentiment and recent events on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, and that there was no intelligence to suggest a link to Hamas.
This comes just days after IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said he considers each victim of the recent attacks an operational failure on the military's end, especially considering the vast resources and personnel deployed to stymie fresh attacks.
To that end, the military has deployed six battalions of reservist forces at the West Bank security barrier — which Israel deems a vital tool in its fight against Palestinian terrorism — bringing the total number of battalions in the volatile area to 26, twice as many as usual.
The IDF also intends to continue carrying out counterterrorism sweeps across the Jenin area in the West Bank — which proved to be a hotbed for Palestinian terrorist activity in recent months — which include extensive arrests and seizures of illegal arms.
Israel also launched on Monday a month-long military drill featuring thousands of troops which a multi-front confrontation with an emphasis on Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank.