Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri.
(photo credit: REUTERS/OSMAN ORSAL)
A Hamas security source claimed on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority security forces were behind phone calls to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to leave their homes before they were hit by Israeli airstrikes.
The source told the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency that the PA’s General Intelligence Force – headed by Majed Faraj – was behind some of the phone calls made to residents and institutions during Monday’s Israeli military strikes, which came in response to the launching of a rocket from the Gaza Strip to the Kfar Saba region. Seven people were injured when the rocket destroyed a house in the agricultural village of Mishmeret.
Several residents of the Gaza Strip said they received phone calls and SMS messages asking them to leave their homes and offices because they were about to be targeted by the Israel Air Force.
“An investigation has found that the [PA] General Intelligence Force was behind the phone calls and messages,” the source said. “We have been able to identify the numbers used in the phone calls and messages, and it turns out that they belong to the General Intelligence Force.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the alleged phone calls “reflect the filthy role the Palestinian Authority played in collaborating with the occupation in the war against our people.”
A senior PA official in Ramallah dismissed the report as “nonsense,” and accused Hamas and its media outlets of “spreading lies and fabrications.”
Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials said on Tuesday that they agreed to a ceasefire with Israel at the request of senior Egyptian intelligence officials.
The officials said the current ceasefire is again based on the formulation of “calm for calm.”
“We’re not talking about any understandings yet,” said a Hamas official. “The Egyptians said they will later work on the details of a long-term truce. But for now, this is just another ‘calm for calm’ deal.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that despite the ceasefire, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will continue to work toward ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip. He also said Hamas and the Palestinian “resistance” groups in the Gaza Strip will continue to defend the Palestinians against any Israeli “aggression.”
Qassem and Islamic Jihad officials said the weekly protests along the border with Israel will continue. They said they expected tens of thousands of Palestinians to participate in mass rallies planned for Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the demonstrations, known as the Great March of Return. The Palestinians are also planning to commemorate Land Day on the same day.
The leaders of several Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday reappeared in public, one day after they had gone into hiding out of fear of being targeted by Israel.
The leaders participated in a number of rallies that took place in the Gaza Strip in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and to protest Monday’s IAF strikes and US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Addressing one of the rallies, Hamas official Ismail Radwan said the Palestinian groups on Monday proved to Israel that the Gaza Strip is not “easy prey.” He also praised the various Gaza-based Palestinian groups for demonstrating unity during the Israeli military strikes.
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