The New York Times
January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas deployed forces near the Israeli border on Thursday to try to prevent smaller militant groups from firing rockets, a sign that the movement may be concerned about possible Israeli retaliation. Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, met with representatives of the groups late Wednesday and told them to hold their fire. The Israeli military says at least 25 rockets and mortar shells have exploded in southern Israel this month, wounding several Israelis. Israel has struck back for each salvo with airstrikes aimed at places where weapons are stored, factories and smuggling tunnels. Hamas blames smaller groups like Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees for the recent escalation of rocket fire.

A participant at the meeting on Wednesday night said Egypt had warned Hamas that Israel was serious about ending the rocket fire. The Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, above, warned the militants that they were “playing with fire,” the participant said. Dozens of Hamas police officers were seen at checkpoints and police posts on roads leading to the border on Thursday, although by nightfall no forces were seen in the area.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017