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Monday, April 11, 2011

Hamas ask Israel to end violence

Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad appealed to the Israeli people on radio last night to stop its attacks on the Gaza Strip. Speaking in Hewbrew, he said that Hamas would then stop its rocket fire into Israel.

Hamas has fired 120 rockets and shells into Israel from Gaza in the most violent exchange in two years but it's not clear what Israel's reaction to the appeal will be. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "If the attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers continue, the response will be far harsher than it had been", he told his cabinet.

Israel was outraged when an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza demolished an Israeli school bus, wounding one student critically. Hamas said it was an accident, they didn't know the bus carried school children but it's painted bright yellow and is clearly visible from Gaza as it makes its daily school rounds.

Israel's newly developed anti-rocket system, Iron Dome, was reported to have downed eight of the Katyusha rockets fired at the cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba - a success that surprised even military officials - but it's still in the testing stage. Terrified residents have called for another ground attack on Gaza but if the Iron Dome system works properly, a ground operation might not be necessary.

Israeli intelligence reports that there is a conflict inside Hamas - Damascus wants to stop the violence but the military wing in Gaza does not.