Israeli aircraft bombed the Gaza Strip on Sunday in response to a series of rocket attacks into the coastal city of Ashkelon, located in the southern district of Israel six miles north of Gaza. No casualties were reported in either the rocket attack or the retaliatory bombing.
The fundamentalist Islamist group, the Omar Brigades, a rival of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the fusillade of rockets fired into Ashkelon on Saturday and a similar rocket attack on 4 June.
“We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God, and no one will be able to deter us,” the Omar Brigade said in a statement.
The rocket attack into Israel was an Omar Brigade response to a Hamas-related killing of an ISIS supporter in Gaza last week.
“Israel holds Hamas responsible for anything that happens in the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon after the June 4 attack.
“I did not hear anybody in the international community condemn this firing at us from Gaza, neither has the United Nations said a word. It will be interesting to see if this silence continues when we use our full strength to uphold our right to defend ourselves,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added on Sunday.
The divisions between the controlling factions in Gaza seems to be being taken out on Israel.
Hamas’ rivals, Fatah, has hardly distinguished themselves with their governing vision for Gaza. Fatah may not hold influence over the Omar Brigades however, it is Hamas with which the Palestinian Authority (PA) has a signed alliance.
A more commendable administrative plan would be to use the PA security organs, the Preventive Security Force (PPS), the Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF) and the Palestinian Civil Police to aggressively pursue those who ferment mayhem in Gaza which threaten both Gaza and Israel and, by extension, disrupt any peaceful negotiation with Israel.
The PA should be a repository of reason and order. If the Omar Brigade persists, their exuberance will be no match for the response of the Israeli Defense Force.
[Reuters] [jpost.com] [telegraph.co.uk]