Gazans Celebrate Hamas 'Victory' With Gunfire
Celebratory gunfire erupted in Gaza on Tuesday after a long-term truce with Israel went into effect at 7 p.m., on the 50th day of Operation Protective Edge.
Thousands of Gaza residents flooded on to the streets of Gaza City, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who fired in the air in celebration just moments after the truce began, AFP correspondents said.
Mosques used their loudspeakers to broadcast raucous chants of "Allahu akbar."
Gaza terrorists in fact breached the truce as soon as it began, firing rockets and causing "color red" warning sirens to be sounded at 7:05 p.m. in the Gaza Belt region, followed by yet more sirens minutes later.
At 7:15 p.m. more rocket sirens were sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council area, but since then the ceasefire appears to be holding.
Despite the Gaza celebrations, Hamas has taken a hard blow in a recent string of assassinations since it breached the last ceasefire last Tuesday.
Israel's targets included Hamas's top financial chief Mohammed al-Ghoul, and three top commanders of Hamas's "military wing," the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades. Those strikes apparently caused "panic" among Hamas ranks, and sparked a bloody campaign of executions of suspected informants.
Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif was also targeted in a strike last Tuesday night; there are mixed reports as to whether it found it's mark, with Hamas claiming he survived what would be the fifth attempt on his life by Israel, but refusing to comment about his condition.
According to reports, Israel knew the location of the arch-terrorist as many as three days ahead of the strike, but chose not to act on the rare opportunity to take him out due to the ceasefire.
The celebratory mood in Gaza is juxtaposed with growing criticism in Israel against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is perceived as having not taken enough decisive action against Hamas in the seven week campaign to make the terror group submit, instead agreeing to numerous ceasefires that have been quickly breached.
A Channel 2 survey on Monday showed that in just four days Netanyahu's approval rating dropped from 55% to 38%; at the time of the ground entry to Gaza earlier in the operation, that rating was as high as 82%.
Supporting the growing frustration was Barak Seener, an Associate fellow at Britain's Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, who told Arutz Sheva on Monday that Israel is “choosing not to win” the war in Gaza.