Hamas Deploys Police Forces Along Gaza Border
Hamas temporarily deployed police on Gaza's border with Israel over the weekend to prevent incidents that could imperil a fresh truce, sources told AFP on Saturday.
Security forces "have been deployed along the Gaza Strip border to preserve the implementation of the truce," the spokesman for the Hamas interior ministry, Islam Shahwan, told AFP.
"Police were deployed Friday night east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, in order to protect the lives of citizens, victims of Israeli aggression," he added.
Shahwan was referring to the post-ceasefire violence on Friday, when a violent clash erupted along the Gaza security fence. Gaza residents said one local man was killed by IDF fire and several others were wounded.
The IDF Spokesperson later indicated that the soldiers had to fire into the air because Gazans had caused a disturbance along the security fence.
Hamas blamed Israel for the incident and claimed that it had violated the ceasefire. “We’ll be sure to update the Egyptians about the latest escalation,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri.
Following the Friday death, AFP reported, unarmed Hamas police were deployed in the area to prevent access in coordination with Egypt, without the risk of being fired at by Israel.
This was the first time since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 such a move was possible, a source familiar with the matter said.
"Israel asked Egypt to intervene to keep dozens of Palestinians away from the border for fear of deterioration. Members of the Gaza police were dispatched to keep Palestinian farmers away in coordination with Egypt," said the source, according to AFP.
Also on Saturday, a statement from Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said the terror group had been informed by the head of Egyptian intelligence that "under the truce, fishermen would be allowed access up to six nautical miles instead of three."
An Israeli official would not confirm the reported change, but told AFP that "it was agreed with the Egyptians that these issues would be discussed in a bilateral dialogue between Israel and Egypt, and that is in fact happening."
Hamas celebrated the ceasefire and claimed “victory” over Israel. The terror group’s chief Khaled Mashaal announced in a press conference Wednesday evening that Israel "has failed in all its goals" in Operation Defensive Pillar, following the cease fire announcement.
Hundreds of Arab residents of Hevron took part on Friday in a demonstration organized by Hamas celebrating the terror group’s supposed "victory" over the IDF in Operation Pillar of Defense.
The demonstration was held under the slogan "Unity and Victory." Hamas flags were flown and there were chants in praise of Hamas and its "military arm," the Ezzedine el-Qassam Brigades.