Created on Sunday, 07 June 2015 19:52
Written by Dalit Halevi/Ari Yashar - Arutz Sheva
The IAF airstrikes in response to Wednesday's rocket attack from Gaza that targeted Israeli cities is being denounced by the Hamas terrorist organization, which blames Israel of "aggressiveness" in defending itself.
Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said Hamas had turned to Egypt and other international sources demanding that they force Israel to maintain the ceasefire agreement sealed after last summer's Hamas terror war, which Gaza has already breached in several rocket attacks such as the one that prompted Wednesday's response.
Radwan blamed Israel completely for last summer's escalation, even though Operation Protective Edge was launched after Hamas cranked up its steady trickle of rocket fire to a torrent of hundreds of missiles within days necessitating the operation.
Wednesday's attack was claimed by an Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Salafist group in Gaza, which said it had fired the rockets that led to an Israeli counter strike as an act of revenge for the death of a Salafist leader affiliated with ISIS, who on Tuesday was shot dead by Hamas forces in Gaza City as they tried to arrest him and he allegedly opened fire on them.
Mere minutes after the attack a senior Hamas source reportedly contacted Israel via Egypt, saying that the ISIS-affiliated Salafists had launched the attack to try and provoke conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) responded to the message on Thursday, saying, "even if those firing on Israeli territory are gangs of rebels from global jihad organizations interested in challenging Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as responsible for the goings-on in the (Gaza) Strip, and we won't tolerate attempts to harm our citizens."
Hamas is said not to be interested in another conflict with Israel at the current stage, and instead is focusing on rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure including attack tunnels and domestic rocket production in ongoing missile tests.
In parallel Hamas is engaging in a diplomatic push for recognition; earlier this week Israel condemned the UN's decision to recognize a Hamas front group NGO.