Hamas fires mortars as last soldiers leave Gaza

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

The last Israeli soldiers left the Gaza Strip Tuesday night, even as Hamas terrorists fired mortar shells into southern Israel in violation of both their own unilateral ceasefire and the truce conditions put down by the Israeli leadership.

A handful of mortar shells hit Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip. Earlier on Tuesday Hamas gunners had targeted the withdrawing Israeli soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had previously stated that Israeli forces would only leave Gaza after Hamas completely halted its aggression against Israel. But aides to the Israeli leader later said that he was determined to get the bulk of the troops out of Gaza before US President Barack Obama was sworn into office in order not to incur the displeasure of the incoming administration.

Military analysts cited by Israel National News also said that Hamas had purposely not used rockets in its attacks on Tuesday in order to hamstring Israel's ability to justify a renewal of the offensive against Gaza terrorists.

Meanwhile, Hamas leaders and thousands of supporters poured into the streets of Gaza City on Tuesday celebrate what they called the terror group's "victory" over Israel.

While Hamas was decisively defeated in direct encounters with the IDF during the course of the offensive, its leaders noted that it never lost the ability to fire rockets into southern Israel, and that it was the last one firing as Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza.

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