Apparently fearing renewed armed conflict with the Jewish state before it has fully recuperated from the summer’s Gaza war, Hamas officials over the weekend hurriedly announced that the group was not behind a Friday morning rocket attack on southern Israel.
Israel responded to the early morning terrorist rocket fire with a pinpoint aerial strike on a Gaza cement factory that was reportedly providing material for the reconstruction of Hamas tunnels into nearby Jewish communities.
“If there’s an escalation of hostilities, Hamas will be to blame,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who insisted Israel would not tolerate even a single rocket against its citizens.
Palestinian media reported that Hamas officials had told Egyptian mediators that their group was not behind the rocket attack, and that whoever was responsible would be found and punished.
At the same time, Hamas has for months been boasting to Arab media from across the region over its fast-paced efforts to replenish its arsenal and dig new terror tunnels into southern Israel in preparation for the next round of fighting.
Last week, Hamas forces proudly marched through Gaza City with large missiles and aerial drones, a clear message that the group intends to strike Israel even harder next time, even to the detriment of its own population.