Hamas Accepted the ‘Truce’ Specifically to Kidnap a Soldier
This morning, Israel accepted a U.S.-brokered 72-hour cease-fire starting at 8:00 a.m.. At 9:30, Hamas started a seemingly pre-planned operation in Rafah, killing 2 Israeli soldiers and kidnapping one during a suicide bombing.
Terrorists emerged from a tunnel shaft, and a suicide bomber detonated himself in the vicinity of soldiers. Heavy exchanges of fire ensued, before one of the IDF soldiers was kidnapped, a senior army source said.
Clearly the cease-fire provided the opportunity Hamas wanted to perform this operation. Their acceptance of the cease-fire – including the terms that IDF soldiers can keep their positions, which Hamas knew were near a hidden tunnel entrance – can only be described as a well-planned ruse for this attack, Hamas’ most sought-after prize. These were not conditions that Hamas would normally accept.
Hamas’ claim that this occurred before the cease-fire is a lie, as the reports of heavy clashes in Rafah all started at 9:30, not 7:30 as Hamas says.
John Kerry said that the cease-fire was a “moment of opportunity.” Hamas obviously agreed.
Here is a chronology of all the previous truces that Hamas violated.
July 15: Israel accepted the cease-fire initiated by Egypt and stopped all fire at 09:00. However, terrorists fired more than 50 rockets at Israeli communities. Only after six hours of continuous rocket attacks did the IDF respond.
July 17: Israel agreed to a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire. The terrorist organizations rejected it and fired rockets, including at the city of Be’er-Sheva.
July 20: Israel approved a two-hour medical/humanitarian window in the area of Shejaiya, following an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) request. Forty minutes after the cease-fire began, Hamas violated it. Nevertheless, Israel implemented the cease-fire, even extending it for two more hours.
July 26-27: Israel respected an UN-requested humanitarian cease-fire from 08:00-20:00 on Saturday, 26 July. Israel announced its readiness to prolong the cease-fire until midnight, but a few minutes after 20:00, Hamas renewed firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
On the same day (26 July), Hamas announced a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire, at 14:00. Hamas violated its own cease-fire a short time later.
Despite Hamas’ continuous fire, Israel decided to extend the humanitarian cease-fire a second time, from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
July 28: Israel accepted Hamas’ request for a cease-fire in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The IDF was instructed to cease military attacks, but Hamas continued to launch rockets at Israel.
July 30: Israel announced a temporary humanitarian cease-fire between 15:00-19:00. A few minutes after the cease-fire began Hamas fired rockets at the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, as well as other Israeli communities.