Sources in the Israeli army said that a Palestinian militia has been operating in Lebanon for several months and recruiting hundreds of fighters to join the battles if new round of fighting erupts in the Gaza Strip.
Quoted by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Friday, the sources said that Hamas had secretly established the militia as a military arm in Lebanon since 2014 and tried to exploit it during the military operation launched by Israel on Gaza in May. At the time, the militia fired a limited number of rockets at northern Israeli towns, but was not ready for qualitative operations.
The sources added that the leader of the Hamas movement abroad, Saleh al-Arouri, supervised the establishment of the militia to trigger Israel by firing rockets from Lebanon.
They noted that the members of the Hamas militia in Lebanon were currently manufacturing rocket-propelled grenades with a range of tens of kilometers.
Hamas is expecting the unit to soon posses more advanced weapons, including drones.
Although Israel did not immediately attach much importance to this new military force, it began to monitor its activities more closely following the launch of rocket-propelled grenades during the last attack on Gaza.
In this regard, the sources expressed Israeli fears that the unit would get a green light from Hezbollah and Iran to launch a series of rocket shells from Lebanon in the event of an escalation in Gaza, which would necessitate a violent Israeli reaction.
It is noteworthy that the preparations conducted by the Israeli army in recent months to combat the Iranian nuclear program are taking into account the possibility of Tehran expanding the circle of hostilities to include Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip and exploiting militias on the three fronts in response to any Israeli attack on the nuclear facilities within its territory.