Israeli aircraft attack 10 targets in Gaza
In remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu pledged ‘to do whatever is necessary’ to restore quiet to southern Israeli communities that have come under rocket attack. But he also cautioned against any rush toward wider confrontation with the Hamas Islamist group, the dominant force in the Gaza Strip.
Tensions were also high in Arab towns and villages in northern Israel and in East Jerusalem, after the kidnap and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian on Wednesday. An autopsy showed he had been burned alive, the Palestinian attorney-general said.
Israel has arrested some suspects in the case, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
Palestinians believe the teen was the victim of right-wing Jews avenging the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers who disappeared while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank on 12 June and whose bodies were found on Monday.
Police said East Jerusalem and flashpoints in Israel’s Arab community in the north were quiet on Sunday after protesters throwing stones and burning tyres clashed with Israeli police late on Saturday.
Palestinian-American Tariq Khdeir, 15, a cousin of the Palestinian teen, was arrested by Israeli border policemen, who his family said beat him severely, during a protest on Thursday in East Jerusalem. The United States has called for an investigation.
An Israeli court on Sunday ordered Khdeir released from jail and placed under house arrest for nine days. His mother said the family planned to return to Tampa, Florida on 16 July.
In remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said: ‘We are acting firmly against law-breakers and those who incite, no matter which side they are on. Whoever breaks the law will be arrested and severely punished.’
Israel beefed up ground forces along the Gaza frontier on Thursday, sending a message to Palestinian militant groups that an invasion was an option if rocket fire did not stop. Egypt, a bordering country, has been trying to mediate a truce.
While Hamas’s armed wing is no match for Israel’s powerful military, the Palestinian group’s arsenal includes long-range rockets that can strike the Israeli heartland, including the business capital of Tel Aviv.