Palestinians conflicted: Claim mall missile, or accuse Israel

Thursday, May 15, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

The Palestinians seemed conflicted on Wednesday over whether to claim credit for the successful missile attack on an Israeli mall, or to promote a conspiracy narrative accusing Israel of having attacked itself in order to gain the sympathy of visiting world leaders.

Soon after the Katyusha missile fired from northern Gaza slammed through the roof of Ashkelon's only shopping mall wounding more than 30 people, an official Hamas website carried a statement praising the group's "armed wing" for having carried out the attack.

Hamas' allies in the Islamic Jihad also hailed the attack as a "gift" to the millions of foreign born Arabs who claim to be Palestinians and whom Israel refuses to open its gates to.

At the same time, however, the Palestinian news agency Firas Press carried a story citing Palestinian sources in Gaza who insisted their forces had not fired any missile toward southern Israel. The unnamed sources said the missile that struck the mall must have been fired by the Israeli army in some cynical attempt to enlist international support for a military invasion of Gaza.

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