"We are talking about an organization that has the ability and motivation, and therefore we are treating this issue with the utmost seriousness," a security official told Ynet Friday.
Dozens of Hamas members have been killed in recent weeks in clashes with IDF troops in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the Air force attacked several Hamas targets in response to ongoing Qassam fire. Officials in Israel who have been analyzing the situation believe that the Islamic group is not at its peak at this time.
'They operate like an army'
At the same time, security officials say that Hamas continues to boost its military strength and group members are constantly working to prepare themselves for a possible large-scale IDF ground operation.
"We can see Hamas' progress every time they come into contact with IDF soldiers in the Strip," the defense official said. "We can see that they are more highly skilled people who are better equipped than before and they operate like an army."
"Therefore, the attitude to Hamas' potential is serious," the source added. "We know that Hamas prepared several 'contingency attacks' – that is, an attack that is ready for execution and merely requires a decision to carry it out."
One of the main threats faced by the IDF in the Gaza Strip is terror via underground tunnels, yet at the same time the army is preparing for various scenarios. In light of the threat, soldiers operating in the area received specific instructions, while intelligence forces have boosted their efforts to uncover planned attacks before they materialize.