Trouble at the Gaza border and CAMERA on Campus Conference

Attack at the Gaza security fence

Author: Joe Truzman

On Sunday morning, a Palestinian approached the Gaza security fence and fired on IDF soldiers. The IDF returned fire, killing the militant. This is the second incident in 24 hours of militants approaching the border and firing at IDF soldiers. In both cases, all the militants were killed.

The photo above is of Marwan Nasser's funeral. He is the militant who orchestrated Sunday's attack and believed to be a militant belonging to Hamas' military wing, al-Qassam Brigades.

Do you notice anything peculiar about the photo? Is there something, perhaps someone missing?

Where are all the militants in military fatigues, masks and assault rifles? The only clues we see that Nasser is a militant is the military fatigues he is wearing, the bandanna and the white flag of al-Qassam Brigades. Unfortunately, this photo creates more questions than answers.

Al-Qassam Brigades has not officially claimed Nasser as one of their fighters. In fact, nobody has claimed the three heavily armed militants who were killed at the security fence Saturday morning either.

They were armed with assault rifles, RPG’s and food — which suggests they planned a lengthy operation.

Why would Hamas or any of the other factions shun one of their Mujahid?

There is precedence for this type of behavior. Notably, an al-Qassam militant, Wissam Yousef Hijazi, was injured by IDF gunfire at the Gaza border last year during the March of Return. He eventually succumbed to his wounds and was quietly buried. It wasn't until some time after that it was made public of his affiliation with the militant group.

There is little doubt the attackers on Saturday and Sunday were members of militant groups. What we don't know is why they set out on a mission they were unlikely to return from. Some sources in Gaza report the attacks were conducted without the approval of any faction. However, I'm inclined to believe almost everything involving militant attacks in Gaza is done with the knowledge of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Whether it is the explanation that lightening set off rockets aimed at Tel-Aviv and Be'ersheba or that none of the militant factions claim responsibility for an attack, it's all done for a reason. It's an easy way for everyone to get out of a potentially dangerous escalation between the parties.

Hamas and other factions have almost ceased their incendiary balloon campaign and in return, Israel has eased some restrictions on the Gaza Strip. Compared to this time last year, the border has been relatively quiet this summer. One could say whatever is going on behind the scenes is working to achieve calm — aside from the weekly March of Return clashes.

Regardless of the reason behind the string of attacks in the last couple of days, the border between Gaza and Israel remains volatile. Hamas states it does not want war but fails to adhere to its statement by allowing and likely facilitating these type of attacks. As the saying goes; “it's not what you hear, it's what you see.”

CAMERA on Campus Conference

I will be in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday giving a presentation for an event hosted by an organization called Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. I will talk about my research over the past year regarding militant activity in the Gaza Strip and how it relates to Israel's security. I'll be posting more information and my presentation after the conference. Look for more information via my Twitter handle @Jtruzmah

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