Israeli warplanes bombed a Hamas security base in central Gaza tonight along with attacks on two other sites along the Egyptian border. The hits centered around Hamas targets as the group attempts to put the finishing touches on its Egypt-brokered ceasefire with the Israeli government.
They came after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised a “harsh and disproportionate” response to a mortar attack near the border. Yet the attacks appeared not to have come from Hamas, and indeed Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin conceded that Hamas ‘is respecting the ceasefire,” which he attributed to the large number of people killed during the recent Israel attacks.
Instead the attacks on Israel are coming from rival factions, like the al-Qaeda linked Jihad and Tawhid Brigades, who carried out a bombing on January 27. Israel’s strikes, rather than focusing on those factions, have seemingly exclusively targeted Hamas, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak has declared, even as Hamas is reportedly close to agreeing to a one-year ceasefire deal, that Israel will never sign any agreement with Hamas.