Israel to Hamas: Don’t Get Involved in Conflict

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel has warned Hamas not to get involved in the warfare between Israel and Islamic Jihad. In a message to the Gaza terror group, the IDF said that if Hamas begins to fire rockets at Israel, “the IDF will attack and smash multi-story buildings in Gaza.”

The warning came in response to a statement by Hamas earlier Wednesday, in which the terror group said that if Israel continued to attack Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, the terror group would “be forced to respond and defend the Palestinian people. The resistance acts as a single unit, whether in the field or in politics. The different factions in Gaza will continue to respond to violence and avenge the martyrs, and will teach the enemy a lesson it will not forget. The factions in Gaza will not accept a return to targeted killings” of terrorists.

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 300 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israeli cities and towns, and the IDF believes that all of them have been fired by Islamic Jihad terrorists. Hamas has so far remained outside the fight, with military analysts speaking in Israeli media saying that the terror group was not upset with the elimination of Islamic Jihad military commander Abu al-Ata, whom, the analysts said, was considered difficult to work with and refused to accept Hamas’s dominance in Gaza.

With that, there is growing pressure from the “Arab street” for Hamas to get involved as Israel continues its attacks. In a statement earlier Wednesday, the IDF said that it had “widened the attacks it is conducting on additional targets,” and newly-installed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett hinted that targeted killings of terrorists would expand, saying that “we are sending a clear message to our enemies on all fronts with these actions. You were and remain targets.”

Of the rockets fired at Israel, defense officials said Wednesday afternoon, about 90% were destroyed by Iron Dome defensive missiles. In Israeli strikes on Gaza since Tuesday morning, some 20 terrorists have been eliminated, with about 50 injured. Islamic Jihad said that the battle was far from over. In a statement earlier Wednesday, the terror group said that “our account with the Zionist enemy is still open. The rocket fire will continue, and will reach Yerushalayim, Hadera and Tel Aviv. The revenge for killing Abu al-Ata will still take place.”