Photo Credit: Kobi Richter / TPS
IDF Soldiers stand near the Gaza border fence. May 9, 2016

By Yona Schnitzer

Hamas officials believe there is a 95% probability that a war will break out between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip in the coming days according to a report published Sunday in the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat.

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According to Al-Hayat, Gaza’s prime minister Yahya Sinwar, the former commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the large military drill being carried out in southern Israel by the IDF this week is merely a cover for the mobilization of troops and the IDF will seize the opportunity to attack in Gaza.

Hamas, as well as other militant groups on the strip have raised their security threat levels, and Hamas leaders have been evacuated to safe and secret locations, the paper said. Furthermore, roadblocks have been erected throughout the Gaza strip in order to keep any possible civil unrest at bay.

The IDF Spokesperson announced Saturday night that a widespread training operation will indeed be taking place this week, and its objective is to simulate emergency response situations for the IDF’s Southern Command and logistical units. The drill was scheduled as part of the 2018 training plan.

On Saturday, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah also warned of the possibility of war breaking out with Gaza. “We’re responding to provocations coming out of the Strip, but we’re not doing anything to push off the next round [of fighting],” said Shelah, who believes that Israel’s main priority with Gaza should be solving its humanitarian crisis. “Ministers in the government, Minister [Yisrael] Katz, for instance, are calling upon Netanyahu to do something, the IDF openly warns about it, but he is afraid and won’t act – and the result might be a war that no one wants,” he said, referring to the Intelligence & Transportation Minister’s plan to build an island port off the coast of Gaza.

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