JERUSALEM – After declaring Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip a victory for their “resistance operations,” Hamas is now planning to focus attacks on the West Bank, where it will fire rockets and carry out guerrilla operations against nearby Jewish towns until Israel leaves the territory, a research center affiliated with Hamas announced in a published study.

“[Hamas will be] transporting warfare technologies such as mortars and rockets from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. These will provide an easy way to bombard Israeli populated areas adjacent to the security fence, and the fence, which is currently under construction, will therefore become useless,” stated a recent publication by the Al-Mustaqbal Research Center in Gaza.

Al-Mustaqbal is headed by a Palestinian professor and, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies, is associated with Hamas and is known to publish surveys and studies that reflect the terror group’s attitudes.

The study credited Israel’s West Bank security barrier with limiting Hamas’ ability to infiltrate Jewish cities to perpetuate suicide bombings, but it said, “Carrying out such acts remains an option since Hamas will find methods to circumvent the obstacle built by Israel. The length of the fence and its proximity to populated areas will make the task easier.”

Al-Mustaqbal said Israel’s withdrawal in August from four West Bank towns provides Hamas and other terror groups with a staging ground from which to launch attacks and to transport rockets to other West Bank communities. It said the Gaza and West Bank withdrawals prove Israel will vacate other areas in response to repeated attacks.

“[Following Israel’s withdrawal] the new warfare technology [of Qassams and mortars] will be produced, and from there, they will be distributed to other West Bank areas,” said the study.

Along with rocket fire at West Bank Jewish communities, Hamas will carry out guerrilla attacks against local residents and Israeli Defense Forces positions, the study stated, citing what it said was Hezbollah’s success in using such attacks to drive Israel from Lebanon in 2000.

“The fighting in the West Bank in the new era [after Israel’s Gaza withdrawal] will be characterized by guerrilla actions carried out by small groups of terrorists as was done in south Lebanon, and by long-distance shooting as was done in the Gaza Strip during the lull in the fighting. These actions will focus on soldiers and settlers, and they will consist of attacks on roads, military bases and settlements,” al-Mustaqbal published.

Israel last week rounded up over 450 suspected Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in the West Bank, and has been warning that the terror groups are planning to step up operations in the area.

A senior security source told WND: “The terror groups will now attempt to step up attacks because they believe they can drive Israel from the rest of the West Bank. Al Aqsa and Islamic Jihad have recently been the dominant players [in the West Bank], but signs are Hamas is poised to catch up.”

Since Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza last month, Palestinian terrorists have fired over 30 mortars and rockets at nearby Israeli Negev towns. So far, there has been no rocket fire in the West Bank.

Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abi Zuhri told WND last week the terror group believes it can force Israel from the West Bank with continued attacks.

“There is no doubt that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is a victory for the Palestinian resistance and its operations against the occupation,” said Zuhri. “The resistance will be the principal tool to liberate the rest of our other occupied territories. ”

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