Monday, June 30, 2014

Hamas directly reponsible for rocket barrage on Israel

From Ynet News, 30 June 2014, by Elior Levy:

For first time since Operation Pillar of Defense ended in 2012, Hamas' military wing [directly] fires rockets at Israel

Hamas' military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, [is directly] responsible for the rocket salvo fired at Israel overnight Sunday and early Monday morning.

This was the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense ended in 2012 that the group [directly] fired rockets into Israel. There a number of Palestinian factions active in Gaza and though Israel views Hamas as responsible for any rockets fired from the Gaza territory, [Hamas itself] generally avoids such direct attacks on Israel.

More than a dozen rockets fired from Gaza Strip slammed into Israel early Monday morning, following a violent weekend in the south which saw a rocket hit an Israeli factory and IDF retaliatory attacks kill at least one Gazan.

Since the massive Operation Pillar of Defense ended in November 2012, the majority of rockets fired at Israel – currently standing at over 200 just for 2014 – were launched by either the Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees. At time, smaller Salafi groups will also launch rockets or attacks at Israel. However, Monday's rockets were of an older make known to be Hamas'.

The fact that Hamas – which recently forged a controversial unity government with Palestinian President Abbas' Fatah movement – is behind the attack could mean the group has chosen to escalate its response to Israel's retaliatory attacks.

The background to the Monday morning barrage was an IAF attack late Sunday which saw one person killed several others injured along the Israeli border with the Gaza Sunday.

According to the IAF, Muhammad Zaid Abid was killed after the army launched a targeted attack against his rocket launching cell minutes before they planned to fire at Israel. Abid was identified by Palestinian media as a member of Hamas's military wing.

Hamas is in increasingly dire straits in Gaza, with the group juggling a number of crises.

The attacks marked more than two weeks of increasing rocket fire from Gaza since the beginning of Operation Brother's Keeper in the West Bank, to find and bring back to safety the three missing Israeli teens – Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.

According to initial assessments 16 rockets were fired overnight Sunday until the early Monday morning hours, the majority of which exploded in open areas of the Eshkol Regional Council...
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