Shin Bet Chief: Arms Smuggling Goes On

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CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - Shin Bet (General Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin said arms smuggling has continued unabated in the two months following Israel's three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip.

In a briefing at Sunday morning's Cabinet meeting, Diskin said an estimated 22 tons of explosives, 45 tons of material for manufacturing weapons, dozens of rockets, mortar shells and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have been smuggled into Gaza.

The Shin Bet chief said despite the Israeli Air Force's successes in destroying many of the tunnels and Egyptian efforts to curb arms smuggling, it continues along the Philadelphi Corridor -- the narrow strip of land separating the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian Sinai.

Attempted Kidnappings

Diskin also told Cabinet ministers that Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) were planning to kidnap more Israeli soldiers. Diskin noted recent increases in attempted kidnappings.

"Hamas's military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is constantly watched for fear of an escalation, especially in light of the deadlock reached around the prisoner exchange deal for [kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad] Shalit and Hamas-Fatah relations," Diskin said.

"There is indeed a drop in rockets on southern Israel," he said. "Only one rocket from a small terror organization was fired in recent days. There are two reasons for this: Hamas is not interested in an escalation or another confrontation with Israel, and, as a result, Hamas is carryout out arrests before attacks," Diskin said.

"Hamas has also signed an agreement with the Fatah-affiliated Islamic Jihad to abstain from such attacks in the near future," he said.

Hamas Stalemated

Diskin said Hamas is more or less stalemated in many areas important to it, such as some kind of long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel, reconciliation with its rival Palestinian Fatah faction, a prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit, and reconstruction of buildings damaged during Operation Lead Shield.

"Because of this, Hamas is rethinking its moves, either to go back to past operational patterns, meaning a popular protest and raising international support or there's the other option of resuming terror activity," Diskin said.

"It was and still is in Hamas's interest to rebuild Gaza and its missile lineup, and it is working on both planes," he said.

Source: YNet news

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