A Hamas source in Gaza confirmed Saturday that the Israeli Air Force attack on the Gaza Strip, caught the organization completely off guard. Hamas, said the source, did not believe the IDF would launch a strike on Shabbat.
Earlier in the week, many Hamas operative went underground, fearing an Israeli assault, but despite the precautions taken by Hamas, many of its police stations across the Strip were operating as usual, again – believing an Israeli attack will not begin over the weekend.
Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum told the media that the organization learned on Friday that Israel was not going to launch any military operation in Gaza. Egypt had recommended Hamas cease all rocket fire immediately, in order to allow Israel to postpone its planned offensive in the Strip.
According to a Hamas source, the organization believed an Israeli offensive would mimic past ones and target Hamas training and other minor facilities, and not offices meant to provide services to the general population.
Among the offices hit were the Gaza passport bureau and the Preventive Security Headquarters.
Hamas further said that the message sent by Israel was one stipulating that that are no more line in the sand, and therefore the organization's would respond accordingly.
Earlier Saturday, Hamas interior minister confirmed that all Hamas infrastructure in the Strip was hit during the string of IAF strikes. The Palestinians further reported that one of the strikes was aimed at a Hamas cadet course readying for its graduation ceremony. According to the Palestinian police spokesman in Gaza, many of the cadets were killed, including Tawfiq Jabar, commander of the Gaza Police.
Eyewitnesses reported black smoke towering over the Gaza Harbor, as well as over several building used by Hamas' armed forces in the city. The Palestinian television is broadcasting images of dead bodied across the city, and of the wounded being rushed to medical facilities.
Official Palestinian reports estimate 150 people were killed in the strike and 300 injured