Though Israeli politicians regularly blame Hamas every time a makeshift rocket comes out of the Gaza Strip and lands in an empty field along the border, officials will usually concede that the fire is from smaller, anti-Hamas factions.
Underscoring that fact, Hamas has announced the creation of a new, 600-strong force created entirely to prevent rocket fire along the border and attempt to keep the always tense area quiet.
Those rocket strikes rarely do any real damage, but usually spark massive military responses from Israel, as in November when Israel killed 105 civilians in response to a salvo from Gaza.
Hamas is in a state of flux right now, having scrapped long-standing ties with Iran and Syria in favor of closer ties to Sunni nations like Egypt. This would be a particularly inopportune time for another Israeli invasion, and the new force seems designed to prevent Israel from having any pretexts for that. Whether it is successful or not remains to be seen.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
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