Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin was quoted Tuesday as saying that Hamas has sent hundreds of men to Iran for prolonged training periods.
Diskin was speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
“Hundreds of Hamas members have been sent to Iran for training, and not training periods of a week, two weeks or a month, but for long-term, high-quality training,” committee member MK Zvi Hendel (National Union) quoted Diskin as saying.
According to Hendel, Diskin “is very concerned that in another two or three years, it will be very difficult to deal with the problem called the Gaza Strip.”
Diskin also told the committee that 31 tons of explosive material has been smuggled into the Gaza Strip in the last year by terror groups. According to Diskin, this was six times bigger than the largest amount to have been smuggled in recent years.
Diskin said that the Palestinians are taking advantage of the relative calm and restraint shown by the Israel Defense Forces to bolster its arms and improve the range of its rocket fire.
Senior Likud legislator Yuval Steinitz, another member of the panel, reiterated his call for an Israeli military ground offensive in Gaza.
“The picture being drawn for us is grave,” Steinitz said. “I call on the government to launch Operation Defensive Shield II, in the Gaza Strip,” he added, in a reference to the major 2002 IDF operation against armed Palestinian militants in the West Bank.
Steinitz told Israel Radio that “The Palestinians are playing good-cop, bad-cop with us. There is Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas), the good cop, with whom we talk peace, while over his shoulder stands Hamas, the bad cop, which grants legitimacy to terrorism.”