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Where was Hamas during Israel's latest bombardment of Gaza?

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Israel launched a wide-scale offensive against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. Its stated target was senior Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer Al-Jaabari in his apartment in a high-rise residential building in Al-Remal area of Gaza City. He was killed along with several civilians, including five-year-old Alaa Qaddoum and her father, who lived in the apartment next to Al-Jaabari's. The Israeli occupation authorities claimed that they had carried out a pre-emptive strike to thwart attacks on Israel planned by Al-Jaabari.

The Israeli aggression prompted a response from Islamic Jihad, which fired rockets towards Israeli settlements and cities near the Gaza Strip. Smaller Palestinian factions also fired rockets towards the occupation state, but the main and largest Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, did not claim to have fired anything, despite the fact that the Israeli bombardment was intense and deadly.

Why did Hamas take this position and where it was during the latest Israeli offensive? When Israeli officials first claimed that Islamic Jihad was planning attacks, they said that they would blame Hamas, which runs the de facto government in the Gaza Strip, for rockets fired from the coastal enclave. The Israelis then changed their position and said that they had nothing to do with Hamas.

This surprising change suggests that the Israeli bombing campaign had less to do with security and more to do with the upcoming General Election. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid claimed that Islamic Jihad planned to carry out attacks in retaliation for last week's detention of its senior figure in Jenin, Bassam Al-Saadi. Ministers and officials echoed his claim, but renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy told Al Jazeera that he suspected that it was all to do........

© Middle East Monitor

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