Hamas Rivals Violating Ceasefire

Olmert promises to strike back after rocket attacks
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2009 3:35 PM CST
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, speaks as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, left, looks on during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009.    (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Pool)
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(Newser) – Israel’s military intelligence chief says Hamas “is conducting serious soul-searching on its strategic mistakes and operational failures" in the wake of the Gaza war, the Jerusalem Post reports. Rival Palestinian groups “are challenging the organization and carrying out attacks in order to bring on another escalation,” he told the Israeli cabinet this morning. “Hamas is deterred and respecting the ceasefire, but not doing enough to discourage the others.”

At today’s meeting, PM Ehud Olmert condemned Palestinian rocket attacks that struck southern Israel this morning, promising “a response that will essentially be disproportionate.” A Hamas spokesman accused Olmert of trying to "find false pretexts to increase its aggression" and thwart Egyptian mediation efforts during the fragile two-week ceasefire.