Times Of London: Israel To Attack Hamas
ISRAEL’s new defence minister Ehud Barak is planning an attack on Gaza within weeks to crush the Hamas militants who have seized power there.
According to senior Israeli military sources, the plan calls for 20,000 troops to destroy much of Hamas’s military capability in days.
The raid would be triggered by Hamas rocket attacks against Israel or a resumption of suicide bombings.
Barak, who is expected to become defence minister tomorrow, has already demanded detailed plans to deploy two armoured divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets, against Hamas.
The Israeli forces would expect to be confronted by about 12,000 Hamas fighters with arms confiscated from the Fatah faction that they defeated in last week’s three-day civil war in Gaza.
Details of the plan emerged as Fatah forces in the West Bank stormed Hamas-run buildings, including the parliament in Ramallah, where they tried to seize the deputy speaker.
Israeli officials believe their forces would face even tougher resistance in Gaza than they encountered during last summer’s war against Hezbollah in south Lebanon.
A source close to Barak said that Israel could not tolerate an aggressive “Hamastan” on its border and an attack seemed unavoidable.
“The question is not if but how and when,” he said.
As of 9 p.m. PST Saturday, neither Haaretz or Jerusalem Post has the story so if you're thinking the Israelis leaked the story to discourage Hamas from launching rockets or suicide raids, think again. Besides, if history has taught Israel anything, it is that treating Hamas or Hezbollah as if they were rationaly -- like giving them a warning, for example -- is irrational.
I'm all for Israel trying to take advantage of the Gaza civil war to weaken Hamas, but you don't start that effort with stories about your troop strengths, triggers and targets -- especially after a greatly outnumbered Hamas crushed Fatah in three days.
This leak in the Times of London doesn't bode well for Israel doing a better job in Gaza than they did in Lebanon last summer.