Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz charged on Tuesday that Palestinian armed factions are planning to move most of their activities to the West Bank.

Mofaz said the Israeli security services believe that the security situation will improve in the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal, but “escalation” is expected in the West Bank, the Israeli radio reported.

“We need to provide our residents (the settlers) in the West Bank with the needed security”, Mofaz added.

Similar statements were voiced by Yoval Diskin, head of the Israeli Public Security Services (Shabak), during a recent meeting with the Knesset’s Foreign and Security Committee.

Mofaz also reiterated his threats to shell and invade Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip if the resistance fires at the settlements and soldiers during the evacuation process.

“If the fire at our troops and the settlements, the army knows how retaliate,” Mofaz said.

Israel recently announced lately that it has finalized a plan to carry out a large-scale military operation, called “Iron Fists,” to reinvade several areas in the Gaza Strip if the army and settlements are subjected to Palestinian fire during pullout.