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Bus hit by Hamas strike Photo: APA
Bus hit by Hamas strike Photo: APA
 
 

Hamas faces rift over Gaza fire

Group's political wing asks Israel for truce, while its military wing continues rocket fire. Abbas asks Arab League to 'condemn Israel for its crimes'

Elior Levy
Published: 04.09.11, 20:27 / Israel News

The ongoing rocket attacks and Israeli strikes in the Gaza region have exposed a rift within Hamas, with its political wing apparently seeking a truce while the group's military wing insists on continuing the fire.

 

Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida rejected talk of a ceasefire on Saturday, saying that Hamas' military wing will not sit idle when faced with the Israeli "aggression."

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"It's not the time to discuss a respite between us and the occupation, while (the occupier) is hurting our people," he said in a press conference. "The blood of our citizens will not be spilled for nothing."

 

"Facing this escalation, we at the al-Qassam Brigades will not sit idle, but respond to this aggression," he added. "Israel is using the international community's silence to escalate its operations against us."

 

While Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Saturday the group did not intend to target Israeli schoolchildren when it fired a rocket at a bus two days ago, Abu Obeida took responsibility for the attack that injured a teen and sparked the latest border fighting.

 

"We at the al-Qassam Brigades stress that the Zionist enemy is responsible for the criminal escalation," he said. "We have no choice but to retaliate."

 

Sources in Gaza confirmed that Hamas' military wing is refusing to follow orders from the political wing, and that the organization is in anarchy. The sources confirmed that Hamas' political wing has used various channels to send a message to Israel, asking for a ceasefire.

 

Hamas suffered a blow in the recent exchanges of fire; more than 20 terrorists were killed over the weekend and dozens were injured. Over the past 10 days, 35 Hamas men have beenkilled.

 

Arab League to discuss escalation

The Arab League is expected to convene for an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the escalation in the Gaza Strip, after being urged to do so by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh.

 

"President Abbas has asked the Arab League to convene… to condemn Israel for its crimes after killing at least 17 Palestinians and injuring many others," said Saeb Erekat, a member of the Fatah Central Committee. He noted that Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa informed Abbas that the meeting will take place Sunday afternoon.

 

Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu said that the Gaza government has also called on Egypt to "restrain the Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian people." He also said that he has asked the international community to intervene to protect Gaza citizens from Israel.

 

Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report

 

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