A high-ranking leader of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has accused the West Bank-based Fatah movement of attempts to provoke the Israeli army to launch a new military campaign against the impoverished Gaza Strip.
“Fatah-affiliated people are trying to force the Gaza Strip into a fresh battle with Israel by launching rockets during this sensitive time,” Mahmoud al-Zahar said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language Palestine Today television network.
Zahar added, “Some of these people are linked to Israel and are commissioned to get on with the task. These people are well-known to us. Fatah stands behind them. We have talked with their field leaders about their dangerous acts. Sometimes, they are arrested.”
The Hamas leader noted that Gaza-based resistance movements are closely monitoring Israel’s acts of aggression against the coastal enclave, stressing that they would never wait too long to respond to such moves.
Zahar’s remarks came after Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum warned in a statement on Sunday that the movement “will intensify the confrontation with Israel” in the coastal sliver if the Israeli military launches new attacks against the enclave.
“The Israeli occupation [regime] bears the consequences of continuing to commit its follies against peaceful protesters and deliberately killing them in cold blood as well as bombing sites of resistance,” he stated.
The Palestinian official further noted that the escalation of situation in Gaza and “playing with fire” will never led to security for Israel and its people.
The statement came after Israeli military aircraft carried out several airstrikes against multiple locations across the besieged Gaza Strip late on Saturday.
Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that Israeli warplanes fired at least one missile towards a military site belonging to Hamas east of Gaza City. Two other sites were targeted in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip and in the city of Khan Yunis south of the enclave. The Israeli airstrikes caused fires to erupt in several targeted sites; however, there were no reports of human casualties.
The Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip, with civilians being the main target of such attacks.
Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.