Gunman firing rockets towards Israel
Photo: AFP
Egypt warns Qassam launching cells
Security envoy in Gaza tells Palestinian groups that continuation of rocket attacks will prompt massive military response in Gaza
Egypt fears that the continuation of rocket attacks against Israel by Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip will prompt a large-scale ground offensive, a senior Egyptian military attaché said Sunday.


Bourhan Hamdan, the head of Egypt's permanent security delegation in the Gaza Strip, called on Palestinian armed groups to halt rocket fire towards Israel.


"These attacks embarrass the Palestinian Authority" and harm Palestinian interests, Hamdan told the Egyptian news agency.


Hamdan added that the attacks could deal a final blow to a precarious ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian armed groups along the Gaza border.


Last Tuesday, Hamas took responsibility for the firing of a barrage of rockets towards Israel on the Jewish State's 59th Independence Day, an attack that was timely coordinated with a foiled bid to kidnap Israeli soldiers in a cross-border ambush.


Hamdan also warned that further escalations could complicate efforts to secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Palestinians.


Shalit was kidnapped by gunmen of Hamas and two other factions in a cross-border raid on June 25 last year.


"They will prompt a violent Israeli response which will destroy what remains of the humble civilian infrastructure in the strip and claim many Palestinian casualties," he said.


A spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the group implicated in Shalit's kidnapping, slammed Hamdan for interfering in "internal Palestinian affairs." He invited Hamdan to either "speak favorably" of rocket attacks or to "shut up."


The spokesperson vowed that the PRC would continue rocket attacks, saying they were a response to Israel's ongoing military operations in the West Bank.


"Only the Palestinian groups will decide on the matter of rocket attacks and only they can rule what is good and what is not for the Palestinian national interest," he said.


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