Hamas threatens to breach fragile lull as Israel braces for border ‎riots

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Recently, the terrorist organization Hamas threatened to resume violence on the Israel-‎Gaza Strip border despite its cease-fire agreement with Israel unless the economic restrictions ‎on the coastal enclave are eased.

Over the past eight ‎months of tensions along the border, Israel and Hamas, the ‎terrorist group that rules Gaza, have clashed several times. Two weeks ago, Hamas fired 460 ‎projectiles at southern Israel in under 36 hours, killing one person ‎and wounding ‎‎55. ‎

The Israeli Air Force struck 160 Hamas assets and ‎over a dozen ‎Islamic Jihad targets ‎in retaliation.

Egypt and U.N. Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov were ‎eventually able to broker a truce, but Hamas conditioned it on the ‎gradual easing of the blockade on Gaza.

Israel maintains a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and sets ‎‎limits on fishing zones off its coast, currently extending to a ‎maximum of ‎9 nautical miles. The two land crossings ‎into Gaza from Israel, the Erez pedestrian crossing and the Kerem Shalom ‎cargo crossing, are strictly monitored. ‎

The Rafah border crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border ‎remains ‎mostly closed as well. ‎

The measures were put in place in ‎‎2007 after Hamas seized control ‎of Gaza in a ‎military coup. Israel maintains the blockade ‎is ‎necessary to prevent Hamas ‎from ‎smuggling weapons and ‎terrorists in and out and from building weapons and infrastructure with which to attack Israel.

A senior Palestinian source said that Hamas is using threats of violence toward Israel to sway the Egyptian mediators in the ‎internal Palestinian reconciliation process between Fatah and ‎Hamas.

Egyptian sources said that negotiations have deadlocked again ‎because both factions are posing conditions that are “impossible to meet.”‎

IDF officials told Israel Hayom that they are prepared for riots Friday, although ‎intelligence assessments hold that Hamas has no interest in ‎provoking another round of violence now. ‎

However, they stressed that while the terrorist group is currently reeling from the blow it endured earlier this month, there ‎is no doubt that a clash between Hamas and Israel is only ‎a matter of time. ‎

IDF troops remain on high alert throughout the Gaza ‎sector, one official said. ‎

Originally posted at Israel Hayom.


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