Gallant threatens to ramp up Gaza strikes, points to surprise May offensive

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says Israel is prepared to step up actions against Gaza, with unrest on the Strip’s border continuing to heat up.

“We don’t want an escalation [in fighting] and are not looking for a fight, but if we get to the point where we need to act, let Operation Shield and Arrow be a reminder for all terror groups about the capabilities of [Israel’s] security apparatus,” Gallant says at a memorial marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur war.

Palestinian rioters in the Gaza Strip are seen near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, September 21, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Shield and Arrow was an Israeli offensive targeting the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza which lasted five days in May and saw a number of leaders of the group killed in a surprise opening salvo.

“If Israeli civilians or soldiers are harmed, we will not hesitate to use everything in our power to ensure the safety of civilians and bring quiet back to the border,” he says.

Israel has thus responded to nearly two weeks of rioting by shelling empty Hamas posts and shooting at protesters who near the border fence. Over the past several days, Gazans have revived the practice of launching incendiary balloons into Israel, starting two forest fires Wednesday.

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