Israeli Gaza Division Commander: ISIS Would Replace Hamas If Toppled

Following the war last summer between Hamas in Gaza and the Israel Defence Forces, IDF Gaza Division Commander Itai Virov told reporters that he is happy Hamas remains in power in the Gaza Strip, as he fears that ISIS would fill the vacuum there if the terrorist network would have been toppled by Israel.

In speaking with reporters on Sunday, Virov explained that Operation Protective Edge wasn’t an “operation” at all, saying it was a war.

“I do not know another way to refer to the 60-65 days we were in Gaza other than as a war. It was a political decision – whether it’s a war whose purpose is to defeat Hamas in Gaza [or an operation], I think that it was a good one.”

For his part, Virov believes there is no way to really deter Hamas in Gaza because the Palestinian Arabs there are said to live under such poor conditions that they are doomed to get involved in terror.

As such, according to the Gaza Division Commander, Palestinians are convinced that war is a way out to a better life, and as such will not overthrow their own leadership.

“Even though Hamas is a bitter and cruel enemy, and the prospect of another war is ominous, the alternative to Hamas rule in Gaza is worse. I see what happens in the Sinai, with the network of ISIS [and ISIS-inspired groups – ed.], and it is good that these groups remain under the eye of the Egyptian army in the Sinai [which is fighting terror there — ed.] and that we will continue to fight our own battles [i.e. Gaza].”

Nevertheless, Virov also explained that the operation on behalf of Israel for a vital one for the Jewish State.

“It was a very important campaign,” noted Virov adding, “more than being decisive and a clear deterrent, it was preventative.”

According to the Commander, Operation Brother’s Keeper, to find and rescue the abducted and murdered Israeli teens in June, changed the balance of power in the region.

“[Operation Brother’s Keeper] was a finger in Hamas’s eye, and what drew it to act was that Hamas lost its most important weapon – more important than high-trajectory weapons or mortar shells: it lost deterrence [against Israel],” he opined.