Exclusive: Hamas owns up privately to Jerusalem yeshiva murders, plots more
March 14, 2008, 9:48 PM (GMT+02:00)
DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources report that, in private conversations, top Hamas commanders are discussing the March 8 attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, which left eight students dead. They are plotting to follow it up with similar terrorist atrocities while slowing down missile and rocket attacks from Gaza.
Our sources disclose the three strategic decisions taken by Hamas leaders for the near future:
1. To give the Gaza ceasefire understanding a chance to take hold. Jihad Islami and the Popular Resistance Committees were responsible for the 26-missile barrage fired Thursday, March 13. One of Hamas' top men Siad Siyam warned the two groups that it was time to stop shooting and adhere to Hamas' "resistance" strategy.
2. This requires a halt in missile and rocket fire against Israeli targets - provided that the informal negotiations brokered by Egypt ma de progress towards Hamas' goals of reopening the Rafah border terminal between Gaza and Sinai and ending Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Failing progress in the coming days, Hamas will go back to – and intensify – the rocket attacks on Ashkelon and missile fire on Sderot.
3. Hamas plans more high-profile terrorist attacks inside Israel on the lines of the yeshiva massacre, which they regard as a model to be followed. In private conversations, their leaders insist on these strikes being mounted from the West Bank or Jerusalem - on no account from the Gaza Strip. They boast that by engineering an unclaimed deadly terrorist strike from their haven in Gaza, they have left Israel's security and intelligence services guessing and deprived its army of an opportunity to hit back – especially in the middle of indirect truce negotiations.
Copyright 2000-2007 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.