Fatah joins Hamas and Islamic Jihad in missile launches
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Fatah joins Hamas and Islamic Jihad in missile launches

Armed wing linked to Mahmoud Abbas's faction says it shot rockets at Ashkelon, Sderot and elsewhere Wednesday night

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Masked Palestinian Fatah fighters from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades parade during a rally marking the 46th anniversary of the movement's creation, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, December 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari/File)
Masked Palestinian Fatah fighters from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades parade during a rally marking the 46th anniversary of the movement's creation, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, December 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari/File)

Armed groups linked to Fatah say they began launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel Wednesday evening, in the first indication of Mahmoud Abbas’s movement actively taking part in violence emanating from Gaza.

The Nidal Al-Amody force of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Grad and 107 millimeter rockets toward Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza, starting at 5 p.m Wednesday. Communiques specifying the attacks were published on Fatah’s official Facebook page.

Early Thursday morning, another armed force associated with Fatah, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, claimed responsibility for launching two Grad rockets at Ashkelon and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Oz near Khan Yunis shortly after one a.m.

“This blessed operation came as an answer to the enemy’s repeated crimes against our defenseless people,” read a statement on the group’s website. The claim of responsibility was also posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page.

A photo depicting two members of the Husseini Battalions preparing to launch a rocket at Israel was posted on Fatah’s Facebook page, its title reading “The Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Abdul Qader Husseini Brigades have proven today that they are the most loyal to the blood of the martyrs. They were among the first to quickly respond to the aggressive [Israeli] operation.”

A photo depicting two members of Fatah's Husseini Brigades preparing to launch a rocket at Israel (photo credit: Fatah official Facebook page)
A photo depicting two members of Fatah’s Husseini Brigades preparing to launch a rocket at Israel (photo credit: Fatah official Facebook page)

Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Abbas, is considered a moderate Palestinian faction, which has gained international standing in recent years after forswearing terror.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

On Wednesday, Abbas accused Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza. “Is this collective punishment?” Abbas said. “No way it’s collective punishment. It’s genocide. It’s called genocide.”

So far, only Hamas and Islamic Jihad were known to have launched rockets into Israel, though Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated on Tuesday that Palestinians had the right to oppose Israel “by all legitimate means.”

Earlier, Fatah posted a video in Hebrew on its Facebook page from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades warning Israelis to flee the country, Palestinian Media Watch revealed.

“Death will reach you from the south to the north. Flee our country without dying. The KN-103 rocket is on its way to you,” the message read.

Meanwhile, Hamas has begun broadcasting Hebrew messages on its television station Al-Aqsa, threatening to resume stabbings and suicide attacks “on every bus, cafe, and street.”

“Zionists, we can reach you above ground and below it,” one of the clips warns.

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