Israel PM warns Gaza over rising rocket fire
Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, the Israeli premier said the almost-nightly military strikes on Gaza could be expanded should the need arise. His remarks came after a sharp hike in tensions along the border as militant groups have stepped up their fire on southern Israel.
‘Over the weekend, the IDF attacked multiple targets in response to firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip. We are ready to expand this operation as per need,’ Netanyahu said, without elaborating.
Speaking to army radio ahead of the cabinet meeting, Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned a limited response would only strengthen the Islamist movement Hamas, which held power in Gaza for the past seven years but stepped down earlier this month when a unified government with the West Bank was sworn in.
‘We have seen that, at the end of the day, limited operations only strengthen Hamas so the alternative is clear,’ he said, repeating his long-held assertion that Israel should re-occupy the Gaza Strip, which it left in 2005. Israeli warplanes struck Gaza 12 times overnight, with Palestinian officials saying two people had been lightly injured.
The army said the sites targeted were being used for ‘terrorist activity.’
The raids took place after six rockets struck southern Israel on Saturday evening, one of which hit a paint factory in Sderot industrial zone, causing an explosion and major fire as the flammable substance ignited, police said.