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Friday, March 19, 2010    

Hamas back on the attack with rockets from Gaza

TEL AVIV — Palestinian gunners have resumed missile and rocket fire against Israel.   

On March 18, a Palestinian missile landed in Israel's Negev Desert and killed a Thai laborer, Middle East Newsline reported. The death marked the third Palestinian missile strike from the Gaza Strip in less than 24 hours. The missile fire was said to have continued throughout the day.

Military sources said the Hamas regime has overseen Palestinian missile and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The sources said the fire has intensified over the last week amid Israeli-Palestinian clashes around Jerusalem.

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"It is clear that Hamas wants to show that it is not sitting quietly," a military source said.

"The responsibility for this attack rests with Hamas," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said.

The increase in Palestinian missile attacks came after a Hamas ban on unauthorized operations against Israel. But the sources said Al Qaida-aligned militias, including those linked to the Fatah movement, have increased missile and rocket fire from the northern Gaza Strip.

Fatah has challenged Hamas to join in any insurgency against Israel. Former Palestinian Authority security chief Mohammed Dahlan, now a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said Hamas should join a coalition that would confront Israel in Jerusalem.

"I truly hope that Hamas will surprise us and join a collective battle, rather than settle for calling on the Palestinians to prepare for an uprising in the West Bank," Dahlan said.

In 2010, more than 30 missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The attack that killed the 30-year-old Thai worker was said to have been the work of the Al Qaida-aligned Ansar Al Sunna, which claimed responsibility.

The Israel Air Force has responded to the Palestinian strikes by attacks on suspected Hamas missile arsenals and weapons tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip. Army units also fired artillery shells toward Gaza City.

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