JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. State Department condemned a rocket attack from Gaza, but said that it would continue to work with the unity Palestinian government.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday acknowledged that Hamas, which currently controls Gaza and is part of the unity government, was responsible for the attack.
“We expect the Palestinian Authority will do everything in its power to prevent attacks into Gaza – from Gaza into Israel. But we acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza,” she said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack and called on all factions to remain committed to a ceasefire with Israel.
Israel responded to the Wednesday attack, which seriously damaged a major road, but caused no injuries.
The airstrike by Israel Wednesday evening on what it called terrorist infrastructure in Gaza killed a terrorist affiliated with Global Jihad, an extremist Salafist group that has launched several rocket attacks at Israel, IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said in a tweet.
The Global Jihad terrorist, Mohammad Awwar, was part of a group that launched several rocket attacks at Israel, IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said in a tweet.
The group had carried out a rocket attack against the southern Israeli city of Sderot and other southern communities on April 21.
The extremist Salafi cell also has carried out several rocket attacks and has attempted to launch terror attacks against Israel as well as attempted to target a helicopter, according to the IDF. The preemptive strike was intended to prevent Awwar from executing further attacks he had planned against Israel, according to the IDF.
The Wednesday morning attack was the third incident of rockets fired on southern Israel from Gaza in the past five days. No injuries were reported.
“Our policy is clear – kill those who rise up to kill us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the Israeli strike on the terrorist infrastructure. ”This is the true face of Hamas; it is continuing to plan terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens even as it inside the Palestinian government. I would like to remind the international community that Abu Mazen – on the day he formed a government with the Hamas terrorist organization – promised to honor all previous agreements. This means that he is responsible for disarming Hamas and the other terrorist organizations of the arsenals in Gaza.”
Psaki acknowledged during the briefing with reporters that “Abbas’ ability to impact these type of attacks is really severely limited at this point in time” and noted ” Abbas must do all in his power to prevent deterioration in the security situation.”
She added: ”We made a decision as the United States Government that our assistance to the Palestinian Authority is important to the United States. This is a technocratic government that just formed in the past couple of weeks. We’ll be watching events closely as time continues.”