A senior PA official told Walla that Hamas has begun to change the pattern of its activity in Judea and Samaria, and is attempting to carry out large scale attacks against Israeli targets, including suicide bombings of the kind that took place during the Second Intifada. According to the source, information obtained recently from interrogations of Hamas activists arrested by the Palestinian security forces, has led to the conclusion that the Hamas leaders living in the Gaza Strip and abroad have ordered field operatives of the Hamas military arm to escalate their involvement from just encouraging demonstrations and stabbing attacks.
The senior source said that if Hamas succeeds in its mission it could be a serious escalation that would lead to a worsening of the situation, and weaken the Palestinian Authority — which are both on Hamas’ to do list. On the Israeli side there is concern about the renewal of suicide attacks, which would completely change the shape of the current wave of terror. The PA oficial noted that since the beginning of the current escalation Palestinian security forces have detained dozens of Hamas terrorists. The Shabak and the IDF have also recently arrested dozens of Hamas activists in Judea and Samaria.
This week saw a change in personnel in the Hamas security apparatus in the Gaza Strip. Commander of the security forces Salah Abu Sharah was appointed Director General of the Ministry of Transportation. He was replaced by Tawfiq Abu Naim, one of the prisoners let go in the Shalit deal. According to Walla, Abu Na’im’s patron in the Hamas hierarchy is Yahya Sanwar, founder of the Hamas military wing, who is gradually emerging as the most powerful man in the Gaza Strip organization. Abu Naim’s appointment completes another step towards Sanwar’s leadership: taking control of the Hamas security forces in Gaza, including the police and “interior security,” the Gaza Strip secret police. Sanwar, 54, was also released from an Israeli prison four years ago in the Shalit deal—the gift that keeps on giving. In 1989 he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of collaborators and served 22 years. Since his release, Sanwar has managed to establish his position in the Hamas leadership and become the unofficial but also undisputed leader of the organization in Gaza.
And now, he is ready to spread his wings and initiate bigger, more imaginative attacks on Israeli civilians.