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Gantz indicates Hamas may face harsher Israeli action in response to rockets

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz indicates Hamas may face harsher Israeli action in response to rocket fire at Israel, following a series of attacks on the south over the past week.

“We will continue to show civil and economic generosity only if security stability is maintained,” Gantz says following a meeting with top military officials at the IDF’s Southern Command, a day after announcing the closure of the Gaza Strip’s sole pedestrian crossing with Israel.

“Terror organizations and perpetrators of incitement must remember: It is those whose economic, civilian, and military situation is unstable who will be severely harmed by any unrest,” Gantz says according to a statement from his office.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is seen during a meeting at the IDF Southern Command base in Beersheba, alongside military chief Aviv Kohavi (left), and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar (right), among other officials, April 24, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Recent rocket attacks on southern Israel have been blamed on Hamas rival Palestinian Islamic Jihad. But it is largely believed that Hamas has enough of a stronghold in the coastal enclave that no rival group would fire at Israel without the ruling group’s tacit approval, at the very least.

“Israel has the ability, and will continue to use the power and various means at its disposal, in the way that it sees fit,” Gantz adds, after some local officials lashed out at the lack of military response to three rockets fired at the south on Friday night and overnight Saturday.

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