Gaza: Why Israel and Hamas are trading rocket fire
Both sides are maneuvering for another ceasefire, and Israeli troops are not likely to invade the Gaza strip, say analysts.
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But analysts say Hezbollah is unlikely to open up a fresh front by attacking Israel from Lebanon. The main risk comes from isolated attacks by Palestinian militants or groups associated with Al Qaeda.Skip to next paragraph
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"If it's not Hezbollah, I would not rule out actions by small groups," says Timur Goksel, a university lecturer in Beirut and former senior official with the UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon known as UNIFIL. "There are many groups that would like to show solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. But if something big happens, the bill will be made out to Hezbollah."
Meanwhile, Gazans were sent messages on their cellphones by the Israeli military warning them to stay away from "terrorists" and refrain from carrying weapons. Many Palestinians stayed off the streets of Gaza City save for funeral processions.
The Israeli assaults came after Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel following the expiration of a six-month cease fire Dec. 19. The Israeli attacks sparked riots in West Bank cities and Israeli Arab villages, as well as protests in neighboring Arab states.
Syrian officials said Sunday they were breaking off indirect peace talks with the Jewish state.
In Lebanon, hundreds of flag-waving Hezbollah supporters demonstrated Saturday and Sunday near the Egyptian embassy in Beirut, to protest what they saw as a tacit green light given by some Arab countries to the Israeli attack on Hamas.
In a widely watched televised address in Lebanon Sunday night, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah echoed the same theme, slamming Arab governments for what he said was complicity in the Israeli onslaught against Hamas.
"Some Arab regimes ... are helping by all means to impose the conditions of surrender on the resistors of the American-Zionist project," he said. "The 2006 July war [between Israel and Hezbollah] occurred under Arab approval, even Arab request.... They told the Israelis to get rid of Hezbollah. They are doing the same thing in Gaza, they are asking the Israelis to destroy Hamas and the resistors."
"I tell Egyptian officials: If you do not open the border crossing then you are party to the siege and the crime," he said. "Let the Egyptian population go out into the streets ... will the Egyptian police arrest them all?"
The black-turbaned Shiite cleric added that Israeli military movements along the border with Lebanon could be a "defensive measure," but warned that Israel could take advantage of the situation to launch an attack on Lebanon.
"We are not concerned nor afraid.... We are ready to face any attack on our country," Sheikh Nasrallah said.