Hamas Asks Gaza Factions to Avoid 'Independent' Rocket Fire at Israel, Sources Say

At a meeting of leaders of militant Gaza groups, Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar stressed the need to coordinate their actions, after a rocket was fired at Israel

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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The Israeli strike in Gaza on Monday.
The Israeli strike in Gaza on Monday.Credit: Yousef Masoud/AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Leaders of militant groups in the Gaza Strip discussed on Wednesday tensions with Israel in a meeting convened at the office of Yahya Sinwar, the local leader of Hamas, which rules the enclave.

According to Hamas sources, Sinwar stressed that "independent" initiatives, such as the rocket fired at Israel on Monday, must be prevented and that any action must be coordinated by all the factions and Gaza's political leadership.

The only official details provided from the meeting were that Gazan groups would remain on high alert throughout the Jewish holiday of Passover, particularly for the upcoming two days. Passover ends on Saturday.

After the meeting, a senior Islamic Jihad official said that Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and even within the Green Line must be encouraged to "keep protecting" Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"We, the factions in Gaza, will be a security blanket and provide defense for anybody in the mosque. We are in a state of utmost preparedness," the official, Ahmad al-Madalal, added.

However, a source in Hamas's political wing told Haaretz that Hamas is currently uninterested in escalating the situation with Israel and hopes that international pressure will defuse the tensions at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On Monday, Hamas fired a rocket at Israel to which Israel responded by attacking the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas' military wing later published a video of anti-aircraft missiles being fired at the Israeli aircraft which issued the attack. No damage to the aircraft was identified.

A Hamas video showing anti-aircraft missile fired by the group on Monday.

The organization views these missiles as a significant improvement to its air defense capabilities. However, the Israel Defense Forces have been aware for a few years that Hamas possesses these missiles which threaten helicopters and drones more so than jets.

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