Gaza-based armed groups tied to Abbas’s Fatah party claim they fired 516 rockets at Israel during recent conflict.
PHOTO: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM
Khaled Abu Toameh..
24 November ’12..
Several armed groups belonging to Fatah in the Gaza Strip claimed Saturday that they had also fired various types of rockets and missiles at Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
A spokesman for the groups, which are affiliated with Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade, told reporters that his men fired 516 rockets and missiles at Israel during the conflict.
The spokesman warned that the Fatah groups would “continue to defend the heroic Palestinian people against Israeli crimes and massacres.”
According to the spokesman, Fatah gunmen fought alongside members of other groups in the Gaza Strip during the recent escalation.
He urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to “head immediately to the Gaza Strip to put an end to the state of despicable state of division [between Hamas and Fatah].”
The Fatah groups also “welcomed” last week’s terror attack against a civilian bus in Tel Aviv, in which 28 people were hospitalized.
The masked Fatah spokesman revealed that a member of his group, Mohamed al-Zaini, who was responsible for launching rockets and missiles at Israel, was killed in an IDF air strike.
Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, was quoted over the weekend as praising Hamas and Islamic Jihad for “deciding to die for the sake of the Gaza Strip.”
Zaki said in an interview with a Palestinian TV station in the West Bank that Abbas was not against the “resistance” in the Gaza Strip.
“We gave legitimacy to the rockets and provided them with a political cover,” he added. “I have tremendous sympathy for Hamas. God bless them. They told Israel that the war was not a picnic. God bless Hamas and Islamic Jihad and all the other resistance groups which decided to die for the sake of the Gaza Strip.”