Two strategic Gaza towns Jebalya and Rafah within Israeli military sights
Thursday night, Jan. 8, Israeli forces fought their way into Jebalya in the northern half of the Gaza Strip, showing they were not deterred from going forward into the adjoining densely-packed alleys of Gaza City’s downtown. Significantly, most Hamas leaders hail from Jebalya.
Rafah, which is split between southern Gaza and northern Sinai, is the key to control of the Egyptian border and the strategic Philadelphi border route with its smuggling tunnels.
Israel’s emissary to Cairo, Amos Gilead of the defense ministry, returned home Friday, Jan. 9, reporting he had found nothing in Egypt’s ceasefire proposals worth his government’s consideration.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources report that Thursday, Hamas leaders and commanders emerged from their underground hideouts for their first look at the devastation wrought in 13 days of Israeli aerial bombardment. They took advantage of the pause in Israel’s military operations for supplies to reach the Gaza population to come out of their holes but soon headed back to safety.
IDF commanders hoped their lust for battle would be cooled by the sight of Gaza in ruins and they would be shocked enough to give up and stop fighting. This would settle the serious argument among Hamas leaders in both Damascus and Gaza over Egypt’s ceasefire proposals.
Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal flatly rejects them and favors breaking off contacts with Cairo altogether. Mussa Abu Marzouk would accept them. He is backed by Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh who maintains that Egypt is Hamas’ only remaining lifeline which it dare not jeopardize.
However, the military arm in Gaza and its heads, Khalil al Haya, Said Sayam and Muhammad Jabry, are strongly in favor of severing ties with Egypt and fighting on.
Our sources disclose that the Hamas extremists are finding time for the brutal persecution of their rivals, the Palestinian Fatah. Under cover of the general mayhem, Hamas gangs are kidnapping Fatah operatives and executing them. Their bodies are tossed onto the mountains of uncollected garbage and their kinsmen informed where to find them. Hamas leaders are convinced their rivals are plotting to exploit the fighting to overthrow their regime.