IDF airstrike demolishes Hamas building in Gaza City

August 10, 2018 by TPS
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IDF jets have demolished a five-storey building in Gaza City used by Hamas’ internal security apparatus, a military spokesman said Thursday evening.

Damages to cars in the city of Sderot in southern Israel, caused by one of the dozens rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza. Sderot, Aug 9, 2018. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS.

The IDF said the strike came in response to a rocket fired at Beer Sheva earlier in the day and was an “indication of the IDF’s intelligence and operational capabilities.”

According to the IDF statement, the building served Hamas to manage internal security throughout the Gaza Strip and some of the unit’s personnel were also active in the terrorist organization’s military wing. Palestinian sources said 18 people were injured in the strike.

The attack followed a day of clashes in which Hamas fired close to 200 rockets into Israel and the IDF launched some 150 strikes on targets throughout Gaza. Meanwhile, the Security Cabinet was due to meet Thursday evening to discuss the situation in the south.

Gaza Belt Council Head: Clock Ticking On Full Scale Gaza Escalation

Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman met with local council heads in the Gaza Belt region Thursday and praised residents of the region for their “quiet determination and steadfastness” in the face of ongoing rocket attacks, but the council heads said that they, like other civilians, have no way of knowing whether fighting between Israel and Hamas would escalate or taper off over the coming hours.

Damages to houses in the city of Sderot in southern Israel, caused by one of the dozens rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza. Sderot, Aug 9, 2018. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS.

We’re at a fork in the road,” Alon Shuster, the head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council told TPS after speaking to Liberman and meeting with security officials. “Things could calm down, they could heat up. Like everyone, we’re waiting patiently to see what happens, to see what the defense minister decides.  “But whatever (decision Liberman makes), the goal is of course not to fight. Even if there is a war, fighting is always means to an end, that being achieving long-term quiet – not only for us, but for the Palestinians, too.”

Asked if he supports Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s long-standing position that Israeli attacks on Gaza are not aimed at toppling the Hamas leadership, but rather at “restoring quiet to the people of Israel,” Shuster said it is “always preferable” to negotiate an agreement. For that reason, he argued that the political echelon is correct to wait and see if the international community, and particularly Egyptian moderators can craft an agreement between Fatah and Hamas that would get the terror group to stop firing at Israel.

If diplomacy fails, however, he said that Israel would be forced to respond with greater force. 

“If it becomes clear that this unstable, out of control regime simply cannot be dissuaded, if there is no agreement to be made and they continue to provoke escalations, then we are apparently closing in on the moment that we’ll have to put them in their place. 

“But I’m not sure we’ve reached that point yet. Don’t forget, we are watching the most advanced negotiations (between Hamas and Fatah) we’ve seen for a decade or more, with international attention focused on Gaza. I think that whatever happens in the coming days, we have to go back to consider a diplomatic move. 

“If it becomes clear that they are committed to breaking all the dishes, it would be a slap in the face to the Egyptians and to the entire world. There will be repercussions on many different levels,” Shuster said.

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