Hamas not sourcing missiles

Israeli intelligence has found no evidence that Hamas is rebuilding the missile-firing capabilities damaged during Operation Pillar of Defence five months ago.

Hamas is instead focusing on its attempts to solidify political control of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian movement.

Four years ago, after Israel destroyed much of Hamas’s missile capability in Operation Cast Lead, the terrorist movement acted swiftly to re-equip itself with thousands of missiles, backed by Iran and Syria.

This time round, Hamas is intensifying its ties with Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt, and with Turkey and Qatar.

Hamas’s new allies are willing to supply it with economic assistance and diplomatic support but not, so far, with arms.

Indeed Egypt, mainly for internal political and economic reasons, has begun an unprecedented operation to destroy hundreds of smuggling tunnels beneath the border with Gaza.

The shift in strategy has not yet changed Hamas’ rhetoric, which still calls for the “armed struggle”. But it has led the terrorist group to focus instead on cracking down on political dissent in Gaza.

This has taken two forms. A Hamas force has been hunting down Salafist groups that have been defying its rule and trying to break the ceasefire by launching rockets.

At the same time, it has stepped up the enforcement of hardline religious policies by shaving the heads of long-haired youths and cancelling events that mix men and women — as it did with the Gaza Marathon.

Last updated: 8:45am, May 10 2013