Hamas gunman (Illustration)
Photo: AFP

Hamas: Attack on army base does not spell lull's end

Gaza group says Friday's rocket fire on IDF base was response to Israeli violations of ceasefire agreement

Despite Friday's rocket attack on the IDF base in Nahal Oz, which left eight soldiers wounded, sources within Hamas signaled Saturday that the group is still interested in continuing its ceasefire with Israel.


Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said that the shooting on Nahal Oz was "a natural reaction to the enemy's crimes, to the blockade (on Gaza) and the closing of the Gaza crossings."


The act, he stressed, "was not meant to violate the truce. We are simply responding to the enemy's violations." Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades added that the Palestinian organizations will convene in the next few days to discuss the future of the ceasefire, which is scheduled to elapse on December 19.


Hamas said the prerequisite for the armistice would be a full Israeli commitment to all its clauses, as well as the reopening of all Gaza crossings.


A spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said that the meeting will include representatives from all Gaza groups committed to the ceasefire. "The decision will be clear and unanimous by all factions, but we'll present some conditions in order for the ceasefire to continue."


Hamas' military wing spokesman Abu Obaida added that "we have the right to respond to any violation by Israel. A ceasefire does not mean silence at the face of the enemy's crimes. Every violation will meet a response, when and where we see fit to do so."


The mortar attack on the Nahal Oz base also reawakened the competition between Gaza groups, in respect to claims of responsibility for the fire; Friday's attack was claimed by both Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC.)


Despite the rocket fire and the threats made, it is believed that sustaining the truce is in Hamas' interest and that the fire was meant to be used as leverage by the armed groups ahead of the negotiations for prolonging the ceasefire.


All three dominant organizations in Gaza Strip – Hamas, PRC and Islamic Jihad – say that the proverbial ball is now in Israel's court, adding that any Israeli operation in Gaza would jeopardize the ceasefire. The attack on Natal Oz, they said, falls under the ceasefire's rules of the game, and does not prevent it from continuing. 


פרסום ראשון: 11.29.08, 20:48
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