Israel’s last major Gaza conflict five years ago — 2014’s Operation Protective Edge — saw the IDF drastically reduce the rocket supplies of Gaza-based terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But now, Israel Hayom’s Neta Bar reports, both terrorist organizations have replenished their arsenals to pre-war levels, which is spurring fears of a new conflict:
[R]ocket stockpiles in Gaza are now back up to roughly 10,000 and consist mostly of short- and mid-range projectiles.
Quoting Israeli military and intelligence officials, the report said the stockpile was replenished through a combination of smuggling supplies into Gaza and local production by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Both Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave, and Islamic Jihad seek to pressure Israel into lifting the maritime blockade that was placed on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas seized control of it from the Palestinian Authority in a military coup.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to cause misery and suffering to the Palestinians in Gaza,” U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt said Tuesday in response to the report.
Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, told the Journal that Hamas was “playing with fire” and that its actions were placing the Palestinian population in Gaza at risk, as they were increasing the chances of another military conflict…
On Monday, Hamas’ military leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar thanked Iran for maintaining the group’s arsenal.
“Iran provided us with rockets, and we surprised the world when our resistance targeted Beersheba,” he told local media, referring to May’s violent flare-up, during which Gaza terrorists fired nearly 700 rockets at Israel.
“If not for Iran, the resistance in Palestine would not have possessed its current capabilities,” he stressed…