Security officials are concerned that in the coming weeks terror cells will launch Qassam rockets from Gaza and also fear an increase in attempted terror attacks by Hamas cells originating from Rafah that would attempt to reach Israeli population centers through the Egyptian border.
According to intelligence assessments, terror experts are being brought into the Gaza Strip in a bid to recover Palestinian terror capabilities in the near future. According to a senior security official, individuals possessing in depth terror-related knowledge may have entered Gaza in recent days through Rafah.
The security establishment is also concerned about the transfer of raw materials earmarked for the Qassam rocket industry, a move that could boost the range of Qassams and allow them to hit the southern town of Ashkelon, north of Gaza.
“We have prepared and warned this could happen,” sources in the IDF Southern Command said. “To our regret, for the time being the border in Rafah remains porous. If the Egyptians wanted to, they would completely seal off the border within an hour.”
“For the time being, the Egyptians are not doing enough, and in our estimate the quantity of weapons and terror experts who are moving in constitutes a threat that could see a rise in terror from Gaza,” one source said. “Unfortunately, this threat could materialize in the near future.”
Border mayhem continues
Thousands of Palestinians broke through Egyptian and Palestinian Authority lines on the Gaza border for a second day Friday, pouring into Egypt in defiance of government attempts to secure the frontier.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas toured the Rafah border Friday and met with senior Egyptian officials.
“We are working with our brothers, the Egyptians, to close the openings so the situation will be under control in 2-3 days,” he said.
Witnesses reported that armed Palestinians, mainly Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees members, have recently managed to create an additional opening in the fence by ramming a truck into it. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of Palestinians were able to cross the border before PA police forces were able to control the scene.
Ali Waked contributed to the story