Hamas Arrests Group for Mortar Attack, Claims Terror Crackdown

Hamas arrested a group in connection with last week's mortar attack, allegedly as part of a wider Hamas sweep on groups trying to undermine truce.

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Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel ,

Hamas Gunman at Rally
Hamas Gunman at Rally
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An organization of several Gaza Arab merchants was behind last week’s mortar attack on Israel, according to Hamas. The group has arrested several of the attackers, reacting to what the terrorist organization calls an attempt to hijack its shaky truce with Israel.

An earlier report described last week’s attack as the personal initiative of a sunflower seed merchant acting on his own, but a recent tip from a Hamas source in Gaza has revealed the attack to be the work of an organized group. Hamas is reportedly working to enforce their cease-fire with Israel, and as part of its crackdown on truce violators has arrested at least seven people in connection with the incident.

The source told Ynet that the people arrested so far for the shelling include merchants and three gunmen who fired at least one mortar shell. The gunmen were seized while they were planning additional mortar attacks.  The detention of the three led to the arrest of the merchants, who are alleged to have financed the shelling.
 
The Hamas source explained that the attackers acted out of fear that the truce would lead to the opening of the crossings, thereby causing a drop in the prices of their goods. Above all, the merchants were concerned that a price drop would leave them with large amounts of unsold merchandise.
 
Hamas has been holding continuous talks with various Arab terrorist organizations in apparent efforts to maintain the latest Gaza truce with Israel. The commercial crossings into Gaza were reopened Wednesday, allowing Gazans to once again receive vital products from Israel such as fuel and cement. The food supplies that are transferred to Gaza are donated by world organizations while most of the commodities are purchased on the Israeli market.
 
Hamas has expressed concern that Wednesday's attempted breach of the Gaza-Egypt border will harm its prospect for a settlement with Egypt over the Rafah crossing. Hamas is currently in talks with the government in Cairo.

The Egyptians decided to close the crossing in response to the breach threat, hours after it had been reopened Wednesday morning. The crossing was scheduled to remain open until Thursday to allow the entry into Egypt of Gaza medical patients and others carrying special permits.
 
In an angry reaction to the closure, dozens of Gazans hurled stones at Egyptian border guards stationed at the crossing.



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