SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

Sejaiya is a neighborhood located to the southeast of Gaza City, which is in the northern Gaza Strip. The neighborhood, situated opposite Israel’s Nahal Oz and the Karni crossings to Gaza, is one of the closest residential points to the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel. 

This densely populated neighborhood is known to be one of the strongholds of terrorist activity against Israel and has been the scene of many confrontations with Israeli forces going back as far as the 1970s and continuing through the first and second Intifadas and Operation Cast Lead (December 2008).

Following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Sejaiya became a Hamas stronghold. This followed confrontations and harassment of members of the Hils clan, allied with Fatah, who were forced to leave the area (some of them fled for their lives and found sanctuary in Israel).

Since the expulsion of Fatah from the neighborhood, there has been an ongoing rivalry between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Each side tries to present itself as the leading force behind the “resistance” in the neighborhood by digging rocket-launching pits for attacking Israel and conducting other types of terrorist activity.

Today, the area is heavily patrolled and monitored by Hamas. It contains attack tunnels and many mosques that serve as arms stores, next to which pits have been dug to use as rocket-launching sites against Israel.

In light of this situation and the proximity of Sejaiya to Israeli homes and roads, the neighborhood is considered one of the most complex confrontation areas.

This information was released by the Israeli Government over the past day, regarding Operation Protective Edge.