Hamas has distanced itself from Saturday’s botched attempt to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip by arguing that the four terrorists who were killed by the IDF had acted independently.
This was the second time in the past 10 days that Hamas has distanced itself from a terrorist attack along the Gaza-Israel border. By disassociating itself from the recent terrorist attacks, Hamas is signaling that it is keen on preserving the ceasefire understandings reached with Israel earlier this year under the auspices of Egypt and the United Nations, Palestinian political analysts explained.
Earlier this month, Hani Abu Salah, 20, was killed in a gun battle with IDF soldiers after he infiltrated the border with Israel. An IDF officer and two soldiers sustained moderate and light injuries during the exchange of gunfire.
Although Abu Salah was said to be a member of Hamas’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, sources in the Gaza Strip said that he carried out his attack to avenge the killing of his brother, Fadi, by the IDF during the weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border last year. Hamas did not endorse Abu Salah as one of its “martyrs” and said that the attack was “personally motivated.”
On Saturday, Hamas again said that the four terrorists who were killed by the IDF as they tried to infiltrate into Israel did not act on instructions from the movement’s military wing. The Hamas announcement is seen as an effort to prevent an Israeli retaliatory attack against them in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials informed Egypt that it was not behind Saturday’s botched infiltration attempt into Israel, a source close to Hamas revealed.
“Hamas has sent a message to Egypt that it’s not interested in an escalation and that it has nothing to do with Saturday’s operation,” the source said.
Palestinian sources identified the four terrorists as Abdullah al-Hamaydeh, Abdullah al-Ghumari, Abdullah al-Masri and Ahmed al-Adini – all residents of the Wadi al-Salqa area in Deir al-Balah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou claimed in a statement that the four terrorists had acted of their own accord.
“The continuation of the crimes of the Zionist occupation and its aggressive behavior, as well as the siege of the Gaza Strip, will prompt angry and rebellious youth to reacted individually,” Qanou said in his statement. Denouncing the killing of the four terrorists as a “new crime,” the Hamas spokesman added that the “crime was committed against a group of young people who are angry because of the crimes of the occupation and the ongoing systematic terrorism and siege of the Gaza Strip.
“The Zionist occupation bears the consequences of the state of anger and pressure experienced by our people because of the continued siege of the Gaza Strip.”
“By distancing itself from the two recent attacks, Hamas is sending a message to Israel that it’s not interested in another war at this phase,” a Gaza-based political analyst told The Jerusalem Post.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad also don’t want to give Israel an excuse not to implement the ceasefire understandings.”