Hamas finally cracks down on truce violators firing rockets at Israel

by Kal El on July 10, 2008 · 0 comments

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It’s about time. 3 weeks and about a dozen violations.

Hamas arrests rocket squad for first time since truce

GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas arrested three Palestinians who fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, in the first such detentions since the Islamist group and Israel agreed a truce last month, a militant faction said.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group linked to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group, said Hamas men pursued two of its members after the attack and “abducted them” in Jabalya refugee camp. No one was hurt after two rockets hit southern Israel.

“We demand their immediate release,” said Abu Qusai, a brigades spokesman.

Hamas officials had no immediate comment. The group had previously said it would not use force against militants who violate the truce.

Al-Aqsa brigades said it launched the rockets in response to the Israeli army’s killing of one of its men as he tried to cross a border fence into Israel earlier in the day. His death marked the first fatality along the Israel-Gaza border since a June 19 Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers shot the man after he ignored their calls to stop and only saw later that he had been unarmed.

The ceasefire deal calls on Hamas to prevent cross-border rocket fire and attacks from the Gaza Strip and for Israel to halt its raids and ease an economic blockade.

Israel tightened restrictions on the passage of people and goods to and from the impoverished territory after Hamas seized control of it a year ago. United Nations officials said Gaza’s goods crossings were still shut rather often despite the truce.

“There is not enough fuel, not enough food, there is not enough of anything,” John Ging, an official with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that aids refugees, said in Gaza.

Although Israel has responded to cross-border rocket fire by frequently shutting Gaza’s crossings, records compiled by Western officials show up to a 44 percent increase in goods imports in recent weeks, including a 30 percent rise in fuel.

Not enough of anything? Apparently there are enough rockets, as they never seem to cease raining down.

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