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Israeli security establishment said to recognize IDF damage to Hamas was less than initially thought

Israeli soldiers direct Merkava tanks to firing positions during shelling towards the Gaza Strip, along the border with the Palestinian enclave on May 19, 2021 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Israeli soldiers direct Merkava tanks to firing positions during shelling towards the Gaza Strip, along the border with the Palestinian enclave on May 19, 2021 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Following this morning’s ceasefire, senior members of Israel’s security establishment tell Haaretz that its strikes on Hamas’s rocket arsenal were less damaging than originally thought.

However, they tell the paper that the operation still deterred Hamas, which deployed fighters across the border with Israel today to ensure that no one there violates the ceasefire.

While prior to the operation, the Israeli intelligence assessment was that Hamas would not want to break the calm that had been holding on the border for several months. However, now security officials believe that the combination of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to cancel the upcoming parliamentary elections, the looming evictions of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and police crackdown on protesters there and at the, Damascus Gate and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, led Hamas to act.

During Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF attacked roughly 40 percent of Hamas’s rocket launchers, but found it difficult to hit other sites, particularly due to a lack of intelligence, the security officials tell Haaretz.

The officials add that Hamas has maintained its ability to fire large quantities of rockets at Israel, even after the latest round of fighting.

Roughly 4,360 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel during the operation, about 3,400 of which crossed into Israel.

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