Border Closes, Israel Promises More Gaza Strikes

Rival Faction Carried Out Attack, But Israel Still Blames Hamas

by Jason Ditz, January 27, 2009

Credit for the roadside bombing which killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border earlier today has been claimed by the Jihad and Tawhid Brigades, an al-Qaeda linked group which has repeatedly clashed with Hamas. Still, the Israeli military says that even though Hamas didn’t carry out the attack, it is still responsible for it because they guess they may have given consent to the group.

In its early retaliation, the Israeli government killed a nearby farmer and launched an air-strike which killed a Hamas member and wounded another civilian. They also closed off the border crossings, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the strip’s 1.5 million reisdents, “until further notice.” Indications are this is not the end of Israel’s attacks, which are threatening to derail the ceasefire.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that the killings so far were “not the response” and that more attacks were yet to come. The Israeli military has also reported been “given the green light” to respond harshly in the Gaza Strip. Defense official Amos Gilad said the response would not be limited to closing off the border.

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