Fatah Wing Claims Responsibility for Rocket Fire

July 11, 2014

3 min read

Several armed groups linked to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party have claimed responsibility for rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.

One group, Jaish al-Asifah [Army of the Storm], distributed leaflets claiming responsibility for firing 35 rockets into Israel since Sunday.  Wednesday night, the Nidal Al-Amody force of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed it had fired Grad and 107 millimeter rockets towards Israeli targets in Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing.

Meanwhile, in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, also associated with Fatah, took credit for firing two Grad rockets and four mortar shells towards Ashkelon and Kibbutz Nir Oz respectively.  Details of both the latter claims were posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page.

“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,” read the social networking post accompanying a picture of two masked members of the Husseini Brigades preparing to launch a rocket.

Fatah is touted as a moderate faction and a potential peace partner for Israel.  Led by Mahmoud Abbas, the party has gained international recognition by foreswearing terror in recent years.  However, the party’s recent alignment with the radical Hamas and now its partners’ participation in attacks on Israel, puts that position to question.  The party earlier posted a Hebrew-language video from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade on its Facebook page, saying, “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.”


Meanwhile, Hamas has indicated it would be willing to consider a ceasefire only if Israel releases prisoners.  The Times of Israel reported that a Hamas official expressed the group’s goal to secure the freedom of 56 prisoners recaptured by Israel since the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on their way home from school.  All 56 were previously released from Israeli detention in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

“If you have proof that the prisoners were involved in terrorist activities, then by all means, arrest them,” he said. “But you apprehended people who have no connection with the operations against Israel, and you know it.”

The official also insisted Israel uphold its commitments in the 2012 ceasefire agreement following Operation Cast Lead, which he claimed Israel violated repeatedly, and that the country cease all aggression towards Hamas and the Gaza strip.  He said his party would not entertain even a temporary ceasefire unless all three conditions were met, however, one declared by Israel “would be welcome.”

Thursday, Israeli President Shimon Peres issued a statement, saying, “Israel underwent another night in which millions of our citizens were under the threat of rocket fire. It is a few nights now that mothers, with children in their arms, can’t sleep because of the fear of another siren. We will protect our children and will not allow anyone to harm them. We must say clearly that the State of Israel won’t rely on luck; we are prepared and ready for any scenario in order to protect our civilians. We are a united front in the face of this danger; we will not consent to being victims.”

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