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.