A top Israel Defense Forces general warned Wednesday of an Israeli “response” to “provocative” actions by Hamas, saying tensions between the sides could escalate if the terror group does not control its fighters.
In a Facebook post in Arabic, Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Hamas members have been using lasers to blind IDF soldiers operating on the border with the Gaza Strip.
“This situation is dangerous, as the continuation of the provocative blinding operations being carried out by terror operatives, even if not [done] at the instruction of their commanders, could lead to an escalation at a sensitive moment for developments in the Palestinian theater,” said Mordechai.
“You’ve been warned,” he added.
Mordechai’s warning to Hamas came after a string of incidents in the Gaza area in the past week, as well as during the start of reconciliation talks in Cairo between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.
Earlier Wednesday, shots were fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip toward the border fence with Israel as an Israeli army patrol passed by. There were no casualties and no damage was reported as a result of the gunfire.
Palestinian sources in Gaza claimed the IDF returned fire, attacking a Hamas post near the border. The army said troops shot back at the sources of fire but did not immediately have further information.
On Sunday night a rocket fired from Gaza failed to reach Israeli territory, the IDF said. In response Israeli tanks destroyed a Hamas lookout post in the central Strip, near the border fence. The would-be rocket strike was the first projectile fired from the coastal enclave in two months.
While no group immediately claimed Sunday’s rocket attempt, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire emanating from the Strip.
The unity talks between Fatah and Hamas, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his opposition to, is aimed at restoring PA control over the Gaza Strip.
Despite Egypt’s efforts to bring Fatah and Hamas together, the two sides remain at odds over the fate of the terror group’s arsenal and military wing, which Hamas has vowed it will not disband despite Abbas’s insistence its guns be brought under PA control.