There is “some degree of dialogue” between Israel and parties in Gaza to prevent
rocket fire into southern Israel, Brig.-Gen. Micky Edelstein, commander of the
army’s Gaza Division, said on Friday.
Speaking at an IDF event in Sderot,
Edelstein said that Hamas was working to thwart rocket attacks from the
“Today Hamas and other actors in Gaza are acting to stop the
rocket fire. They don’t always succeed, and where they fail, the IDF acts,” the
Earlier last week, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat
newspaper reported that Hamas had replaced policemen in the Gaza Strip border
areas with fighters from its armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, in an effort to stop
the rocket fire.
The newspaper quoted a Palestinian source as saying that
Israel passed messages to Hamas through Egyptian mediators threatening to carry
out another large operation in the Gaza Strip if the rocket fire doesn’t
Izzadin Kassam has set up fixed and mobile roadblocks and has begun
searching cars near the border. They were also deployed to areas further away
from the border that were used in the past to fire rockets at Israel, the
Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
A Salafi official told the
newspaper that his group refused to comply with the cease-fire agreement and
would continue firing rockets at Israel. The Hamas government arrested Salafi
jihadists who claimed responsibility for rocket fire at Israel, the paper
The relative quiet that followed the ceasefire between Israel
and Hamas after Operation Pillar of Defense in November was broken recently by
sporadic rocket fire.
In recent weeks, rockets launched from the Gaza
Strip struck the Eshkol region, and two Grad rockets fired by Gaza terrorists
from the Sinai Peninsula exploded in Eilat. Last weekend, a rocket was fired at
the Sdot Negev region, and on Thursday night the remains of a projectile were
found in an open area of the Eshkol region.
The IAF struck a terrorist
facility and an arms depot in the southern Gaza Strip overnight last Sunday in
response to the rockets.
On Tuesday, the IAF killed Hitham Mashal, who
was associated with the global jihadi movement and whom security forces have
linked to last month’s rocket attack on Eilat.
“I want to make clear that
we will not tolerate a ‘drizzle’ policy. A ‘drizzle’ of rockets or missiles will
be met by a very aggressive reaction, and we will take all necessary action to
defend our citizens,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned last
week.Yaakov Lappin and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.