News24

Hamas moves to appease Israel

2010-04-02 16:30

Gaza City - Gaza's Hamas rulers said on Friday they have contacted armed groups in their coastal territory in an apparent bid to keep them from attacks that could provoke Israel.

A string of recent Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes have ratcheted up tensions. Earlier Friday, Israeli aircraft struck multiple targets in Gaza after a rocket landed in southern Israel the day before.

Gaza health official Dr Moaiya Hassanain said three Palestinian children were wounded in one of the airstrikes and have been hospitalised.

The Israeli military said aircraft struck two weapons-making factories and two weapons-storage facilities. Hamas security officials said 10 sites were hit: a cheese factory, a moviemaking complex built by the territory's Islamic militant Hamas rulers and open areas where militants train.

A statement released by the Hamas government after the aerial assaults accused Israel of an "escalation" against Gaza. But it also said the Hamas government was "making contact with the factions to safeguard internal agreement".

Hamas has never explicitly criticised attacks against Israel, though top officials have said such attacks don't serve Palestinian interests right now. The statement indicated that the Islamic group was acting to get the territory's other militant groups to respect this policy.

Some in Gaza have criticised Hamas - whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel - for seeking to restrict rocket attacks on Israel.

In 2009, Israel conducted a bruising war in Gaza after years of rocket attacks. Since then, Hamas has tried to avoid provoking sweeping Israeli military action.