Israel

Calling Hamas “Responsible” for Rocket Fire, Israel Targets Observation Post in Gaza

The Israel Air Force (IAF) responded to missile fire from Gaza last night by targeting a Hamas observation post in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to a military spokesperson: “The IDF sees the Hamas terror group as the sole party responsible for what takes place in the Gaza Strip and for what emanates from it.” The missile exploded near the border fence. There were no reports of injuries or damages.

Earlier on Thursday, the IDF revealed that four Palestinians from Gaza carrying knives and a grenade were arrested while attempting to cross into Israel. It is unknown whether they were planning a terror attack or deliberately tried to get arrested in an attempt to escape from Gaza.

Thursday’s missile attack occurred as Palestinians factions Hamas and Fatah again missed a key deadline to implement a reconciliation deal, potentially burying the landmark accord aimed at ending their decade-long split.

Hamas was supposed to hand over power in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, by the end of December. The handover was only partially carried out – with Hamas relinquishing its control of the border crossing – and a 1 February deadline was set for the remaining handover and solving other civil issues. This passed yesterday without any further progress.

Abbas is yet to transfer PA funds to Gaza and no solution has been found regarding future employment for the estimated 100,000 officials in Gaza who received salaries from either Hamas or the PA.

Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, said the Fatah-led government had backed away from the deal “without clear reasons”. Fayez Abu Eita, a Fatah official in Gaza, called for Hamas to respect the agreement.

The Egyptian regime, which brokered the recent reconciliation agreement, had pledged to open the Rafah border crossing permanently once under the control of the PA, but has not done so yet.

The head of the Egyptian intelligence services, Khaled Fawzy, who led the reconciliation efforts, was replaced earlier this month.

(via BICOM)

[Photo: AP Archive / YouTube]