(AP/Adel Hana)

Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, the head of the IDF Southern Command, warned that Hamas is keeping things quiet on the Gaza border in order to build up its military capabilities in order to attack Israel again.

By: Barney Breen-Portnoy/The Algemeiner

Hamas is taking advantage of the current quiet on the Israel-Gaza border to build up its strength for the next round of fighting, a high-ranking IDF general warned on Wednesday.

“If a new conflict opens, we will act with speed and great strength,” Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, the head of the IDF Southern Command, was quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 as telling Gaza border area residents.

Zamir continued: “The two years since Operation Protective Edge have been, relatively, the quietest [on the Gaza border] in recent decades. Hamas suffered a heavy blow during Protective Edge and is restraining itself, but, unfortunately, instead of taking care of the civilian population in Gaza, it is preparing for the next war.”

Furthermore, Zamir said, “Hamas is a radical Islamist ideological enemy who rejects Israel’s right to exist. The IDF will not allow terrorist groups in Gaza, led by Hamas, to attack Israel and its citizens. We will respond to every attack with the necessary force required for the situation.”

“While we want the quiet to last as long as possible, we are also preparing to deal with potential threats, both above and below the ground,” he concluded.

The IDF has fought Hamas in three full-fledged military operations since the terrorist group violently seized control of the coastal enclave from Fatah in 2007. The most recent was Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

Just last week, the Israeli Air Force struck three Hamas sites in Gaza in response to a rocket fired at Israel.