Palestinians in Gaza fear IAF attack marks beginning of end of cease-fire

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
December 20, 2014 12:52

 
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The Israeli air force's retaliatory strikes against the Gaza Strip before dawn on Saturday roused local Palestinians who for the first time since the end of Operation Protective Edge woke up with a feeling of dread that another round of fighting was imminent.

Two IAF sorties targeted Hamas sites just east of Khan Yunis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip early Saturday. The strikes, combined with recent statements by the Islamist group's leadership regarding the need to "re-establish deterrence," raised questions in the minds of residents regarding the viability of the cease-fire.

The IAF strikes were precipitated by a Palestinian mortar that was launched from Gaza and landed in an open area in the Eshkol regional council. None of the Palestinian factions have yet to claim credit for the mortar attack, but that has not stopped Israel from assigning blame to Hamas, which is the de factor majordomo of the coastal enclave.

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