Israeli aircraft bombed smuggling tunnels, weapons manufacturing sites and terrorist bases in Gaza overnight in retaliation for massive mortar shell attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. One of the bases was a Hamas training site.
Arab media pointed out that the retaliation came hours after another ceasefire offer by Hamas, which said it would cease attacks if Israel did the same. The Israeli retaliation was a clear sign that the government and military do not accept Hamas truce offers, all of which the terrorist organization has broken dozens of times over the past four years.
After weeks of claiming that other terrorist organizations have broken a ceasefire promise by Hamas earlier this year, Hamas stated on Saturday that it participated in the massive mortar attack last week on the Negev.
Israeli military spokesmen pointed out that Monday night’s retaliation struck tunnels dug to allow terrorists to infiltrate beyond Gaza and attack and kidnap Israelis. As after previous attacks on tunnels, the Defense Ministry has not explained why the tunnels are not bombed before rocket and mortar shell attacks from Gaza.
Hamas and allied terrorists have attacked Israel more than 125 times with rockets and mortars since the beginning of the year, not including dozens of attempts to plant bombs on the patrol road at the Gaza separation/security fence.
Hamas spokesmen claimed 19 “civilians” were wounded in the overnight strikes, but the numbers could not be confirmed. The terrorist organization also repeated usual reports that women and children were wounded, although the strikes were on terrorist bases in the middle of the night.
Hamas’ escalation of attacks may be connected to thwart supposed attempts by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reach a unity coalition of his Fatah movement and the rival Hamas terrorist organization.
The United States has labeled Hamas an illegal terrorist group, but has not stated how it would relate to the Palestinian Authority or its pressure for PA negotiations with Israel if a unity agreement is reached.