“We hold Hamas responsible for everything coming from Gaza,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said. “All violence and provocations are Hamas’s responsibility. The humanitarian improvements made recently should have caused Hamas to rein in the terror, but it allows a violent atmosphere to continue.”
Last week, Israel resumed fuel shipments to Gaza following a reduction in violence, a week after deliveries were halted, when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a house in Beersheba. The IDF’s outgoing commander of the Gaza division, Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, said last week that Hamas “dictates the level of violence along the border,” referring to the violent riots under the guise of the “March of Return,” which have been going since March 30.
In response, Israel struck at 80 targets in Gaza, including “command posts, weapons manufacturing facilities and a four-floor building housing Hamas’s general security agency,” the Post reported.
Conricus acknowledged that it was actually Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terrorist group based in Gaza, that physically fired the rockets. PIJ, Conricus charged, operated “under guidance, instruction and incentives from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, based in Damascus.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year that Israel would hold Hamas responsible for any terrorist attack launched from Gaza given the terror group’s complete military control over the territory.
Conricus made this point about Hamas more explicitly this past May, following a bombardment of more than 30 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, saying, “They have the ability, the control and the power to escalate or to deescalate the situation, to rein in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their own extremist factions in Hamas or to escalate the situation.”