For the first time, Hamas commanders confirm that their fighters are trained in Iran.
The Hamas commander, however, confirmed for the first time that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been training its men in Tehran for more than two years and is currently honing the skills of 150 fighters.
Not only were the Israeli's right, but according to this Times Online article, the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet "underestimated the extent of Iran’s influence on Hamas’s increasingly sophisticated tactics and weaponry."
Speaking on the record but insisting on remaining anonymous for security reasons, the Hamas commander admits and confirms to sending fighters to Iran for training in both field tactics and weapons technology since Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza strip of Palestinian territory in 2005. Others go to Syria for more basic training.
This commander says that over 150 Qassam members ahve gone through training in Tehran and 650 Hamas fighters have trained in Syria and that 62 of those fighters are in Syria right now.
But what Hamas values most is the knowledge that comes directly from Iran. Some of it was used to devastating effect by the militant group Hezbollah against Israeli forces in Lebanon in 2006.
“They come home with more abilities that we need,” said the Hamas commander, “such as high-tech capabilities, knowledge about land mines and rockets, sniping, and fighting tactics like the ones used by Hezbollah, when they were able to come out of tunnels from behind the Israelis and attack them successfully.
The terrorist gunman that killed eight students in Israel at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, last Thursday, admits to have been acting on instructions from Hamas leaders in Damascus, in coordination with Hezbollah, Palestinian defense sources said.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Saturday that just as Israel has managed to stop Hezbollah from "firing a single missile for the past year and a half," so it will stop these terror organizations, too.
As well they should.
Israel has allowed these rocket attacks upon the innocent Israeli citizens for over 7 years now with only limited responses from the Israeli military, instead of stopping the attacks once and for all and dealing with the fallout after they have assured themselves that no more rocket attacks by terrorists would be launched upon their citizenry.
That strategy has not worked in Israel's favor up until now and it will not work in their favor. They must ignore the international community and stand to protect themselves and stop the launching of such attacks.
The leadership in Israel has an obligation to it's country to protect them and they have not done so to the best of their abilities as of now.
That must end and they must come down hard on those attacking the citizens of their country, as hard as necessary to stop such attacks.
[Update] Cease fire deal reached in Gaza?
While the Gaza sources said the agreement went into effect this weekend, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert's office released a statement saying it was "unfamiliar with any agreement on a cease-fire with Hamas," Ynetnews said.
We shall see.
[Update] Hamas denies any cease fire deal.
Yeah, big surprise there.