The Hamas government urged Gaza militants Thursday not to attack border crossings with Israel in order to ensure the flow of basic goods into Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Hamas gunmen, along with militants from other groups, have been involved in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli targets, including border crossings, and the statement Thursday by government spokesman Taher Nunu marked a change of position.
“The government calls on the Palestinian factions to avoid shelling the crossing points, in the interest of our people, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, and to keep commercial traffic going and protect security and stability in Gaza,” the statement said. However, it was not clear whether other militants would heed the call.
The Popular Resistance Committees said in a statement that it would send “messages of death” to Israel during Ramadan, a time of increased religious fervor.
On Tuesday, a rocket fired by members of the Popular Resistance Committees and the Islamic Jihad group exploded in an Israeli army base near Gaza, wounding more than 40 soldiers as they slept in their tents.
In recent years, Gaza militants have fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli border towns, and the attacks continued after Israel’s pullout from the area in 2005. Since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the rival Fatah movement in June, Israel has largely restricted the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza.