On November 19, 2013, following mortar shell fire targeting an IDF force, Israeli Air Force aircraft struck terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Above: Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives examine a training facility in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip after the Israeli strike (Hamas forum website, November 20, 2013).

This past week three mortar shells were fired at an IDF force engaged in routine activities near the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. In response, on November 19, 2013, the Israeli Air Force struck several terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) warned that “Israeli violations” were liable to lead to the collapse of the lull in the fighting.

The energy crisis in the Gaza Strip continues, causing a significant worsening in the quality of the Gazans’ daily lives. One of the reasons for the crisis is a dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) over tax payments for Israeli diesel fuel. In addition, Hamas is under Egyptian pressure because of the smuggling tunnels and the Rafah crossing. Hamas spokesmen blame Israel and are critical of the PA, but are careful to tread lightly when it comes to Hamas’ relations with Egypt.

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