Mondoweiss reports: The PLO and Palestinian Authority both insisted to Mondoweiss that Hamas fighters engaged Israeli soldiers inside Gaza well before the ceasefire took effect – and during an Israeli assault on Rafah leading up to the 8 AM ceasefire.
“They aborted the ceasefire from the beginning,” said Nabil Shaath from the PLO’s Central Committee. A veteran negotiator, Shaath has become the de facto liaison between the PLO and Hamas. He confirmed to Mondoweiss that PA President Mahmoud Abbas received a briefing from Hamas this morning on the incident near Rafah. Shaath’s account reflects details provided directly by Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.
According to Shaath, at after 6 AM, Hamas fighters engaged Israeli forces in Rafah. He maintained that it was then — almost two hours before the ceasefire went into effect — that the two Israeli soldiers were killed and the other went missing.
Shaath’s account was supported by dispatches published before the ceasefire went into effect by the official Twitter account of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades military wing. In a tweet published at 7:34 AM on August 1, the Qassam Brigades stated, “At 7 AM a group [of Hamas fighters] clashed with [Israeli] forces east of Rafah and caused many injuries and death to them.” [Continue reading…]