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Report: Hamas, Israel exchange messages via Cairo

April 6, 2013 1:44 P.M. (Updated: April 7, 2013 5:08 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel and Hamas have exchanged messages through Egypt after a rise in tensions along the Gaza border, the Al-Quds newspaper reported Saturday.

Israel bombed the Gaza Strip early Wednesday after militants fired rockets toward southern Israel following the death of a Palestinian with cancer in Israeli custody.

Israel's airstrikes were the first since it agreed to an Egypt-mediated ceasefire with Hamas in November.

Through Cairo, Israel relayed that it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from the Gaza Strip, Al-Quds reported.

Israel also informed Hamas that it would respond to every ceasefire violation with military action and by restricting crossings and the permitted fishing zone, the report said.

Israel said Hamas should inform Egyptian mediators if it is unable to control the Gaza Strip in order to reconsider the ceasefire.

Hamas responded to Israel's messages, also via Cairo, and said it had tightened control of its border areas and informed all factions to abide by the ceasefire.

Hamas said it had arrested Salafi militants responsible for firing rockets at Israel, Al-Quds reported.

According to the report, Hamas informed Cairo that it cannot exercise complete control of Gaza, especially after the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh in Israeli custody.

However, the Islamist movement said it was working hard to control the situation and asked Egyptian authorities to request Israel refrains from further attacks on the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, the interior ministry in Gaza denied claims by a Salafist group that its members were arrested by Hamas forces for firing rockets at Israel.

Interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan denied there had been any "arrests for resistance to the enemy (Israel)," saying such action would "not help national consensus (unity)."

"Our security apparatus is part of the resistance and does not arrest anyone who resists the occupation. On the contrary, we encourage resistance," Shahwan said.

A Salafist source told AFP that Hamas's "internal security apparatus in the last two days arrested two mujahedeen. One was released after several hours. The other is still detained."

The source said it was part of a "campaign to pursue Salafists after the targeting of Israel with rockets."

The Mujahedeen Shura Council said it fired rockets at Israel on Tuesday in response to Abu Hamdiyeh's death.

In a statement Thursday, the group urged "the rational-minded in Hamas to pressure its security to release Salafists."

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