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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Iran behind rocket attack from Gaza?

The Tower is reporting that Iran may have been behind Tuesday morning's rocket attack on Ashkelon.
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps are currently in the Gaza Strip, high-level Palestinian security sources tell The Tower.

The Iranians, according to our security sources, are experts in missile production, and are in Gaza to help Hamas and Islamic Jihad develop long-range missiles. Israeli security and political officials declined to elaborate, telling The Tower only that this isn’t the first time delegates from Tehran had entered the Hamas-controlled territory.

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This morning’s rocket attack was apparently not carried out by Hamas, but by its rival Islamic Jihad, a smaller organization believed to be largely to fully under Iran’s control. Two weeks ago one of Islamic Jihad’s leaders in the West Bank, Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi, told me his group enjoys “warm and positive” ties with the Islamic republic. There are also reports in Arabic media that Fatah has claimed responsibility.

Today’s rocket may have been intended as an act of solidarity with the last few days’ West Bank protests, which followed months of low-simmering violence, weeks-long prisoner hunger strikes, and the death of detainee Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody.

It remains unclear how this morning’s attack will affect the sensitive ties between Israel and Hamas, and – within Gaza – between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. After Operation Pillar of Defense the two Palestinian groups were in full agreement over the need for a ceasefire, but Iran continues to pressure Islamic Jihad to fire at Israel. Tehran sees stability between Gaza and Israel as against its own interests.
Israel should finish off the Iranians in Gaza as a warning to Tehran not to interfere. But it won't. 

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