Report: Hamas not believed to be seeking escalation with Israel

Despite weekend rocket fire from Gaza, the Palestinian terrorist group isn't presently believed to be interested in a military confrontation.

March 13, 2016 08:14
1 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a protest against Israel

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a protest against the Israeli police raid on Jerusalem's al-Aksa mosque in Khan Yunis. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Following a slew of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, the Israeli security establishment estimates that Hamas is not presently seeking a military escalation with Israel, Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

The report noted that the assessment stands despite the terrorist group's continued digging and armament of underground tunnels in the coastal Palestinian enclave.

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The report emerged after terrorists in Gaza fired several rockets at southern Israel on Friday night, for the first time since late January. The projectiles exploded in uninhabited areas, failing to cause injury or damage.

In response, the Israel Air Force bombed four Hamas targets in northern Gaza early Saturday. Palestinian medical sources said fragments from a missile fired by the IAF killed a 10-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Strip.
Gaza boy killed in Israeli air strike after rockets hit Israel

On Saturday night, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon blamed Hamas for the rockets that were launched from Gaza into southern Israel.

“Hamas is the sovereign power in Gaza and is responsible for what goes on there,” he said while speaking at an even in Tel Aviv for wounded solders from the Armored Corps.

“We won’t tolerate attempts to breach the peace and to disrupt the lives of our citizens in the south. We responded firmly and harshly against Hamas. We will attack them more severely if such attempts [rocket launchings] continue,” Ya’alon said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian news agency Ma'an cited a Hamas statement warning that group's "patience" toward Israel "has its limits."

Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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