Gaza ministry denies ordering arrest of militants firing rockets
Published Wednesday 05/02/2014 (updated) 06/02/2014 10:09
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's ministry of interior on Wednesday denied media reports that the ministry had ordered security services to arrest militants launching rockets towards Israel, denouncing the rumors as "lies."
"These are mere lies and falsifications and the minister's office never released such a letter," the minister's office said in a statement.
The statement added that "such trivialities will never deceive our people and the ministry of interior headed by minister Fathi Hamad will continue to protect our home front and our resistance."
Israeli news website Ynet published on Wednesday a document in Arabic that they said was a letter sent from the minister of interior's office to the commander of Hamas' military wing urging him to arrest those who launch rockets towards Israel.
The letter was addressed to Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah and called on him to ensure that security forces under his command monitor the areas from which rockets are being fired and to detain all "those who fire rockets even if it necessitates using force."
The reports comes a day after the Gaza government redeployed a military force on the border tasked with preventing militants from launching rockets towards Israel, which had been withdrawn a few days earlier in protest against repeated Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.
Despite the withdrawal of the force, forces were still tasked with maintaining the ceasefire with Israel, which has been in place since Nov. 2012 despite repeated Israeli violations and Palestinian reprisals.
Israeli forces have killed six Palestinians and injured 41 in attacks on Gaza in January, Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for Gaza's Ministry of Health, said last week.
Additionally, Israeli forces have opened fire on numerous Palestinian protests in border areas, which Israel maintains as a "buffer zone" that has turned 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35% of its agricultural land into a no-go zone according to UNOCHA's 2010 statistics.
Palestinian militants, meanwhile, have fired an increased number of rockets toward Israel, which have all landed in unpopulated areas with no injuries reported.