Hamas Sends Message to Israel: We’re Still Here
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired by Hamas toward southern Israel overnight, to which the Israel Defense Forces responded by striking “underground terror infrastructure” in the Gaza Strip. Earlier in the day, the Israeli army shut off access to the fishing zone off the coast of the Palestinian territory after balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices were flown across the border, causing fires to rage in and around Israeli communities. Tensions along the frontier have dropped in recent weeks following a tacit cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that ended months of intense violence. The confrontation reached a crescendo last month when Gaza-based terror groups launched some 700 rockets at Israel over the course of 48 hours, killing four people and wounding scores more. During the military engagement, the IDF destroyed hundreds of targets in the enclave – its largest operation there since the 50-day war in 2014 – killing well over a dozen Palestinians. According to reports, the loose truce requires Hamas to contain the violent protests that have taken place along the border every Friday since last March, and end the launching of the balloon-born devices into Israel. In return, Israel reportedly agreed to open border crossings; allow the transfer of tens of millions in Qatari cash to Hamas’s coffers; support a United Nations-sponsored cash-for-work program in Gaza; and begin negotiations to advance development projects in the enclave related to electricity, water, health care and sanitation.