The militant Palestinian group Hamas is alleging that Israel fired the barrage of rockets that hit the Red Sea port resorts of Israel and Jordan earlier this week, killing one Jordanian civilian, as a means to justify another assault on the Gaza Strip.
The Soviet-style Grad rockets crashed into the sea near Eilat and killed a taxi driver in Aqaba on Monday, in the second such attack this year. Hamas has denied having firing the projectiles.
Egyptian officials had said following the rocket attack that the salvo was fired by Hamas operatives from Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed the Egyptian conclusion, blaming Hamas for the rocket attack.
"Israel will retaliate for every assault," Netanyahu said Wednesday. "Apparently there were those who understood that, and tried to avoid taking responsibility for these crimes. Three days after our retaliatory operation in Gaza, Grad rockets were fired from Sinai at Eilat and Aqaba by a seemingly anonymous organization. Several months earlier, on April 22, similar rocket fire came from Sinai. We investigated the two incidents – it became clear beyond a doubt that Hamas' military wing in Gaza had perpetrated both attacks under disguise," the prime minister explained.
Sami Khater from Hamas' Damascus-based political bureau said on Saturday the group had "no interest" in firing the rockets and even ruled out that they had come from Egyptian territory.
Khater explained that Israel may have fired the rockets in order to blame Hamas and consequently gain a pretext to launch fresh attacks on Palestinians.
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