Hamas: Gaza Attacks Meant as ‘Test’ for Egypt Leader

Israel’s deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and Thursday were intended as a "test" of the new Egyptian president’s tolerance for violence in Gaza, Hamas said Thursday.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the airstrikes that killed six fighters in separate attacks were "unjustified," and came after Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi delivered a speech affirming his support for the Palestinian cause.

"Muhammad Mursi and the Arab League supported the Palestinian people," Barhoum said of a speech Mursi gave at the regional body on Wednesday. "Israel’s attacks are aimed at testing the Arab position."

He added: "After Israel’s clear messages, Egypt and the Arab League have to put forward a new strategy to deal with Israel and respond to the aggressive attacks against the Palestinian people."

Six Palestinians died after separate airstrikes late Wednesday and early Thursday in what Israel called a response to rocket fire and attempts to plant a road-side bomb on the border.

In a statement Thursday, the Israeli military said that "IDF soldiers targeted a terrorist squad that was planting an explosive device near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip."

On Wednesday, an airstrike killed three gunmen after Israel said they tried to launch short-range rockets.

In his remarks at the Arab League, Mursi said the Palestinian cause remained "the first cause for the Arab world … We need a just and inclusive solution for the Palestinian issue, we all need this as Arabs."

(Ma’an)

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