Hamas Official Says Not Behind Rockets at Israel, but Launches Show Change Is Needed in Gaza

'The situation in Gaza is only worsening and the public in Gaza is strangely awaiting a clash, out of belief that it will bring change'

An Israeli tank positioned in front of Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza-Israel border, September 11, 2019.
\ Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The rockets fired at Israel this week were not launched by Hamas, a political source in Gaza's governing organization told Haaretz on Wednesday, adding that at the same time, Hamas cannot publicly condemn the attacks.

According to the source, the Tuesday and Wednesday launches were intended to send a signal to Hamas, Israel and Egyptian mediators that "something needs to change" in Gaza.

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He said Hamas was in talks with other factions in the Strip, but added "There were no developments in the latest talks with the Egyptian delegation. The Egyptians asked for quiet, promising that positive change will take place after the [Israeli] election. We've heard these promises on the eve of the last election, on the eve of the Eurovision, and nothing changed." 

"The situation in Gaza is only worsening and the public in Gaza is strangely awaiting a clash, out of belief that it will bring change."

Hamas and other Gaza factions have not ruled out the possibility that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the rocket fire. A source in Islamic Jihad said the organization will continue to act within the strategic framework agreed upon by all parties in Gaza, and is not interested in provoking Hamas or Israel.

On Wednesday, three rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza. The Israeli army tank hit two Hamas military positions in the northern Gaza Strip in retaliation. 

On Tuesday night, rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was addressing crowds at a campaign rally in the latter city, and had to be taken off the stage mid-speech. In response, the Israel Defense Forces struck some 15 Hamas targets in the northern and central Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday.

This is the latest escalation in developing tensions on Israel's border with Gaza, as the country enters the final week of its redux election campaign.