Israel on alert after mortar fire from Gaza

Sirens alert sounded early Tuesday, May 29, in Israeli communities along the border of the Gaza Strip. For the first time since the beginning of the "March of Great Return", which began on March 30 , nearly 30 mortar shells were fired from Palestinian territory. They did not cause casualties. One of them landed in a school compound, still deserted at this early hour. The photo of the shell immediately went around the social networks. The Israeli defense system "Iron Dome" intercepted part of the projectiles, the Israeli army said.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

This is the largest attack launched from the Palestinian territory since the war of summer 2014. The Israeli authorities were to decide in the morning, the extent of the military response. If the suspicions are focused on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (JIP), Hamas, master of the Gaza Strip since 2007, is held responsible for any security incident by the Jewish state.

On Sunday, the army discovered and defused an improvised explosive device placed on the border fence, concealed in shears. She then hit an observation post. Three PIJ members are dead. Observers and authorities expected this time a response from this faction, with the consent – essential – of Hamas, which would recall the power of military nuisance that he still has, despite its weakening and isolation.

Incidents multiply

On October 30, 2017, the PIJ lost several members of its armed wing during Israel's destruction of an attack tunnel. Fourteen Palestinians had been killed. But the Islamist movement had avoided any major revenge, at the insistence of Hamas. The two factions were then engaged in negotiations in Cairo for a reconciliation with Fatah of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. A reconciliation today at a standstill.

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While more than 110 people have been killed by Israeli soldiers and more than 3,500 wounded by guns since the start of the march, incidents have increased in recent days along the fence. In addition to fiery kites caused by fire kites in Israel, infiltration attempts were thwarted. In Sderot on Monday night, several automatic weapon strikes were reported on buildings and cars after gunfire from the Gaza Strip.

Earlier in the day, two Palestinians were arrested by the military as they crossed the fence trying to set fire to an Israeli observation post. On Tuesday, several fishing boats were to attempt to leave the Gaza Strip and force the sea blockade, carrying on board wounded, shot and wounded in recent weeks during the march.

Drone and craft gear

A few days ago, the army announced that it had found a drone, loaded with explosives, that would have been remotely controlled from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory. In the past two months, many hand-crafted weapons intended to detonate near patrols of soldiers have been detected. On the other hand, Hamas has been vigilant during this period to avoid any military escalation that could have provoked rocket attacks on the Israeli civilian population.

This mix of civil and military actions is difficult for Israel to manage , both operationally and externally. None of the actors wants a new devastating conflict, but no one wants to appear in a position of weakness or vulnerability, while a complex mobilization is observed at the diplomatic level, to save Gaza. The stakes are also the future of the Palestinian question, and the deepening of the gap between the blockaded territory and the West Bank.

The next leg of the "walk back" is scheduled for June 5th. In the meantime, intense negotiations take place behind the scenes. There is talk of a long-term truce negotiated indirectly between Hamas and Israel, the Jewish state no longer asking for the complete disarmament of the Islamist movement, according to the local press. Egypt and Qatar play the intermediaries. This agreement would include both a sort of sealing of the arsenal of armed factions, a stop in tunnel construction, a possible exchange of prisoners and the release of two Israeli civilians detained in Gaza. Israel would also facilitate major investment and infrastructure projects. One unknown remains: how such a truce, openly desired by the Hamas leadership,to propose , in spite of the end of inadmissibility addressed by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas?