Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Hamas is keen to preserve the state of “calm” and does not like the idea
that other Palestinian groups are attacking Israel, Hamas officials
said over the weekend.
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Islamic Jihad leaders also expressed their readiness to avoid an all-out confrontation with Israel.
is concerned that an upsurge in violence would foil plans to hold mass
rallies next week marking the 24th anniversary of its founding.
of the interest in the truce came after a weekend of rocket attacks on
Israel and air force strikes on the Gaza Strip, started by the IAF
bombing on Thursday of a terrorist cell that was planning an attack
against Israel from Sinai.
Hamas is also worried that the renewed
rocket attacks on Israel could torpedo the implementation of the second
phase of the prisoner-exchange agreement that saw the release of IDF
soldier Gilad Schalit in October. The second phase of the prisoner swap
deal calls for the release of 550 Palestinians from Israeli prisons by
Islamic Jihad also expressed its desire to avoid further escalation.
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Habib, a senior Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, said his
group has reached agreement with Hamas to honor the unofficial truce
Habib said that the decision was taken so as not to
give Israel an excuse to “carry out its aggressive schemes against the
“No Palestinian group has the right to separately
engage in conflict with the occupation,” Hamas legislator Salah
Bardaweel said. “We sent a clear message to the Palestinian resistance
groups that there’s no choice but to unite and work together.”
Bardaweel said Hamas wants to maintain the state of calm to avoid a further escalation in the Gaza Strip.
He added that Egypt and “some UN parties” were playing a big role in restoring calm to the Strip following the latest tensions.
Hamas official said that his movement has warned other Palestinian
groups against carrying out “operations that could lead to an explosion
that no party wants now.”
In a related development, the
Palestinian Authority announced on Saturday that it would ask the
international community to dispatch observers to the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip to “document Israeli human rights violations.”
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the observers were needed to defend Palestinian civilians.
Saturday morning, Palestinian terrorists fired four rockets into
Israel, raising the number fired since Thursday to close to 20.
IAF bombed a number of targets in Gaza over the weekend, including a
weapons cache, causing secondary explosions that sent shrapnel into a
nearby house killing one civilian and wounding 13 others, mostly women
The IDF said harm to civilians was regrettable but
placed the blame on Hamas, which was embedding its terrorist bases
within civilian infrastructure.
On Friday, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz summoned the IDF brass to discuss a response to the spike in rocket attacks.
officials said that while a ground offensive was always a possibility,
Israel was likely to continue striking at Hamas and Islamic Jihad
targets from the air.
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