The Hamas terror group on Sunday warned Israel against military action in the Gaza Strip, saying military threats by Prime Minister Benjamin would not frighten the Palestinian people, but rather encourage further resistance.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement that Netanyahu’s threats of action against the Gaza Strip “are a miserable attempt to frighten our Palestinian people and undermine their will.”
Barhoum warned “the Zionist enemy against committing any foolishness against our people, its land, its holy places, and our people in the Gaza Strip,” saying Israel must bear the “consequences and repercussions” of such action.
Such threats, he said, “do not frighten us or confuse us” and will only serve to push Palestinians “to continue their struggle” using all means they have.
“These threats aim to cover up the crises that the Zionist entity suffers from, and the crimes, violations and annexation taking place in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” Barhoum said, apparently referring to the Trump administration’s peace plan, which would allow Israel to extend sovereignty to some areas of the West Bank — a measure keenly pursued by Netanyahu.
Earlier, Netanyahu warned Gazan terror groups that Israel was prepared to take “crushing action,” if escalating rocket and incendiary balloon attacks from the Strip continued.
Recalling Israel’s targeted killing of a top Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group commander last year, Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, “We’re prepared for crushing action against the terror groups in Gaza. Our actions are strong, and they’re not finished yet, to put it mildly.”
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett similarly issued a warning to Hamas leaders in Gaza, warning that Israel would take “lethal action against them” if their “irresponsible behavior” did not cease.
The warnings from Israeli leaders came after yet another round of rocket and balloon attacks from Gaza over the weekend, with Palestinian terror groups firing at least one rocket into southern Israel on Saturday night that struck an open field, after which the IDF shelled two Hamas positions in northern Gaza in retaliation.
Also Saturday, a suspected explosive device attached to a cluster of balloons that was apparently launched from Gaza was found in a field in the Merhavim Regional Council. A group of foreign workers who were reportedly not aware the object could be a bomb picked up the balloons, but the device did not explode.
The day before, at least six suspected airborne explosive devices launched from Gaza were found in the south, including what appeared to be the warhead of a rocket-propelled grenade attached to balloons discovered in a field near Kibbutz Ruhama, northwest of Gaza, which police sappers were called to disarm.
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip began flying explosive and incendiary devices into Israel using clusters of balloons and kites beginning in 2018. The practice has waxed and waned over time, but has picked up considerably in recent weeks, with dozens of balloon-borne bombs landing in and near towns and farming communities adjacent to the Palestinian enclave.
Few injuries have been caused by these airborne attacks, but the fires they sparked have caused extensive damage to Israeli agricultural fields, parks and forests, especially during the country’s dry summer months.
Israeli defense officials believe that the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group is trying to increase pressure on Israel in a bid to extract greater concessions in ongoing ceasefire negotiations.
Fears have also mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release last month of the US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the terror group took control of Gaza in 2007.
Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad command Abu al-Ata and his wife were killed on November 12, in an Israeli strike on his home in northern Gaza. The PIJ subsequently fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, which responded with retaliatory strikes.