Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Thursday evening that while Israel seeks no escalation in hostilities, it will not tolerate continued rocket fire on the communities of the south.
“We are not looking for excitement and no one is pushing for an escalation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but we will persist in the defense and safety of Israeli citizens and on that point there will be no compromise. All fire from the Gaza Strip to the sovereign territory of the State of Israel will be followed by a strong response,” Liberman warned in a speech at a ceremony for IDF commanders.
Hamas cannot evade its responsibility for the rocket launchings from Gaza, he said. “When it tries to achieve or prevent something, it knows how to do it. So, in regards to any rogue elements, they should try harder.”
Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, told reporters after the latest attack that he was “convinced that this situation cannot continue,” adding that he was sure security forces and the government “think the same.” He called on the state to “act and to stop this thing. We will continue to live near the Gaza border, and the state of Israel will ensure that this drizzle – I hate using that word – this sporadic fire will stop.”
Meanwhile, Salafi jihadist leader presented Hamas with an ultimatum: Either Hamas releases members of the organization from jail, or they will step up attacks on Israel. The ultimatum expires in 48 hours.
An online statement by Abu Bakr Al-Makdasi on Wednesday confirmed that the first of the two attacks on Israel was in retaliation for the arrests a few days ago by Hamas of five Salafi operatives, as well as part of a “jihad against Jews.”