IDF source: Hamas working to stop Gaza rockets

Speaking at an IDF event in Sderot, Edelstein confirms that Hamas is acting to thwart rocket attacks from Gaza.

May 3, 2013 19:52
2 minute read.
Hamas's Kassam Brigades [file].

Hamas's Kassam Brigades 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)


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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 Strip.

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“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 general said.

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 stop.

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 reported.

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.

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