After airstrikes, Hamas said to appeal to Israel for calm
Gaza official reportedly claims group is working to prevent further violence following air force bombardment in reprisal for rocket attack on Sderot
Hamas has reportedly sent a message to Israel calling for calm and saying the terrorist group was not interested in a further escalation of tensions, following IDF airstrikes on its installations in the Gaza Strip Wednesday in response to a rocket attack from Gaza on the Israeli city of Sderot earlier in the day.
A Hamas official said the group told Israel it would not allow other terrorist groups within Gaza to further inflame the situation, according to Israel Radio.
He said that the group passed on the message via a third party, Israel Radio reported.
“From our perspective, the incident is over,” the Hamas official reportedly said.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office could not confirm or deny that Israel had received a message from Hamas.
The Islamic State-affiliated Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group took responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket launch. The Salafist group said in a statement that attack on Sderot was a response to Hamas’s arrest of several members of the Salafist organization, according to the group’s statement.
In that rocket attack, three people in Sderot “suffered anxiety attacks” and were treated by medical teams, but no one was physically hurt, according to the Magen David Adom medical service.
Though the Salafist group claimed the attack, Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza and routinely responds to such launches with strikes against Hamas targets.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed it retaliated to the rocket attack with a series of airstrikes in southern Gaza, saying it targeted “a number of terror installations belonging to the Hamas terror group.”
In its statement, the IDF called Hamas “the sovereign in the Gaza Strip, which bears responsibility for every terror incident emanating from it.”
Palestinian reports said that IAF jets hit a marine police installation in northern Gaza, near Beit Lahia, a Qassam Brigades site in Khan Younis in the southern strip. They also claimed some 25 IAF rockets struck a target in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City.
The apparent message from Hamas represents a distinct change in tone. On Wednesday evening, the group said it would not “sit idly by” if Israeli airstrikes continued.
“We condemn the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip and warn against its continuation. We emphasize that we will not be able to continue to sit idly by and allow it to continue,” the terror group’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement reported by the Safa news agency.