JERUSALEM, Israel - Thursday afternoon about the time Israeli kids were riding home from school, the Hamas terror organization controlling the Gaza Strip fired an anti-tank missile at a school bus.
All but one 16-year-old student had been dropped off when the missile struck, critically injuring him and wounding the bus driver.
The teen was airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center Trauma Unit, where he is listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit after undergoing emergency surgery.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on the school bus, calling it "the first response to the continuing crimes of the occupation."
But what occupation is Hamas talking about? Certainly not the Gaza Strip. In August 2005, Israel evacuated 10,000 people from 21 thriving Jewish communities in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria. Where those towns once stood, rocket launching pads and terror training camps have taken their place.
Under orders from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to respond immediately to the attack, the IDF targeted three arms smuggling tunnels, the anti-tank missile launch pad and other locations housing the group's terror infrastructure until sometime after midnight. Five people were killed and 33 injured, according to Palestinian sources.
In total, Israel's air force hit 13 sites, prompting Hamas, in consultation with other terror groups and a few outside sources, to declare a ceasefire, effective at 11:00 p.m. Thursday, hours after firing 45 rockets and mortars on southern Israel.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with "a delegation of independent figures" in Cairo who are part of a "nonaffiliated movement" working to reconcile Hamas and Fatah," the Palestinian official news agency, Ma'an, reported.
"With the state of things, it is now more important than ever to end division," delegation leader Yaser Wadieyah said, according to the report.
"With the state of things" some wonder what's motivating the Quartet -- U.S., E.U., U.N. and Russia -- to point the finger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government as the obstacle to advancing talks with the Palestinians.
On Wednesday, Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who hopes to become Egypt's next president, offered to accompany Abbas to Gaza to meet with Hamas officials.
According to the report, Egypt is set to invite Hamas leaders, including Damascus-based Khaled Meshaal, to Cairo for meetings.
It seems clear that for the Hamas-Fatah unity government, "occupation" will likely be defined not just as the Gaza Strip, but the whole of Israel.