Mortar shell (archives)
Photo: AP

Report: Hamas arrests merchants planning to thwart truce

Following Ynet report that sunflower seed merchant was responsible for mortar shell fired at Israel last week, senior Palestinian source says series of arrests conducted in Strip

Hamas is reportedly working to maintain the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and on Wednesday Ynet learned that it was not just one sunflower seed merchant who was responsible for the mortar shell fired into Israel last week.


A security source in the Strip told Ynet that the shelling was not a personal initiative by one merchant, but rather an organization by several merchants who were behind the incident.


According to the source, seven people have been arrested so far for their involvement in the shelling, including merchants and three gunmen who have fired at least one mortar shell. The three were seized while planning to fire additional mortars, and their detention led to the arrest of merchants who had allegedly financed the shelling.


The sunflower seed merchant and his friends had feared that the truce would lead to the opening of the crossings, bringing about a drop in the prices of goods. Their main concern was that they would be left with large amounts of merchandise.


Hamas is working to maintain the ceasefire, and is holding continuous talks with all the Palestinian organizations. The commercial crossings into the Gaza Strip were reopened Wednesday, allowing Palestinians to receive products they have been lacking for months, such as cement.


Hamas fears, however, that Wednesday's mass attempt to breach the Gaza-Egypt border will harm the talks being held between the organization and Cairo in regards to the Rafah crossing.


In response to the incident, the Egyptians decided to close the crossing, which had only reopened Wednesday morning and was scheduled to remain open until Thursday in order to allow the entry of patients and people carrying special permits into Egypt.


Dozens of young Palestinians hurled stones at the Egyptian police officer stationed at the area in response to the decision.


פרסום ראשון: 07.03.08, 10:20
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