MI: Syria increases military activity for fear of an Israeli attack
Military Intelligence research chief gives cabinet security briefing, says Hamas, Fatah likely to clash in W. Bank soon.
The head of the research division of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, told lawmakers Sunday that Syria believes that Israel is planning to attack, and has therefore increased its military activity.
Baidatz said, however, that the Syrians are reluctant to go to war, and therefore are not expected to initiate it. While the Syrian army has not altered its deployment along the Golan Heights, it has increased its activity in order to prepare for a possible Israeli attack, he added.
Speaking to the cabinet during its weekly meeting, Baidatz said Syria is closely following the activity on the Israeli side and is highly sensitive to Israel Defense Forces action in the Golan, he said.
Baidatz said the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah would likely clash in the West Bank very soon.
In June, after five days of bitter clashes between the two groups, Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip, leaving the West Bank largely under Fatah control.
He explained that Fatah's security forces have been trying to curb Hamas' power in the West Bank, but have not been entirely effective. They have not been able to expand their power, and still rely on the Israel Defense Forces to fight Hamas.
According to Baidatz, the humanitarian crisis reportedly caused by the shutting down of the crossings along the Gaza border is not apparent. He said that Hamas' rule in the coastal territory is growing continually stronger and that the group is preparing for next step in the confrontation with Israel.
Baidatz informed the cabinet that most of the Qassam rocket attacks directed at Israel from the Gaza Strip are carried out by Islamic Jihad militants. He also mentioned that the militant group Army of Islam is emerging as an offshoot of Al-Qaida in the Strip, though its capabilities are so far limited.
According to Military Intelligence, the Hamas has not yet decided how to handle the Army of Islam.
The intelligence official also told the cabinet that the fear of an Israeli attack persists among the Syrians, despite countless claims to the contrary made by senior figures in Israel.