Hamas Down But Not Out: Israel

Rift between Syrian, Gazan wings of Hamas hamper negotiations
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2009 3:11 PM CST
An explosion from an Israeli airstrike is seen in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Khaled Omar)
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(Newser) – Hamas forces in Gaza have been damaged but remain intact enough to fight on, Israeli officials told the New York Times. The onslaught of Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks has shaken the Hamas network, with some groups fighting randomly without coordination from senior leadership. Infrastructure in Gaza has taken several critical blows, and rocket attacks on Israel have slowed to 20 to 30 a day, down from 70 to 80 before the assault.

Meanwhile, Egyptian negotiators met in Riyadh with representatives of the Hamas factions from both Gaza and Syria to discuss a cease-fire. Negotiations are stymied, however, by open disagreements between the two groups. Hamas officials from Gaza are eager for a cease-fire but are opposed by the Damascus wing (and their Iranian sponsors), which holds the authority to make all political decisions.