Netanyahu vows to meet Hamas with ‘wall of steel’ amid Gaza escalation – National


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JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a southern Israeli city bordering Gaza on Monday that was pummeled with rockets from the strip over the weekend and informed group leaders there that Israel is engaged in a “prolonged battle.”

Netanyahu’s go to to Sderot comes a day after a casual cease-fire took maintain to finish 24 hours of intense combating between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas militants that had threatened to devolve into all-out struggle.

Israel pounded Hamas targets in its most large bombardment for the reason that 2014 struggle, whereas militants fired dozens of rockets towards Israel that halted every day life within the space. Two Palestinian youngsters had been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza Metropolis, whereas 4 Israelis had been wounded from a rocket that landed on a residential residence in Sderot.

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Netanyahu visited an area kindergarten and pledged that Israel would put an finish to the rocket fireplace and a Gaza militant marketing campaign of flying incendiary kites and balloons throughout the border which have ignited fires damaging Israeli farms and nature reserves.

Hamas will face a “wall of metal” if it retains up its aggression in opposition to Israel, Netanyahu warned, including nonetheless that the risk gained’t disappear in a single day.

“It doesn’t finish in a single strike,” Netanyahu mentioned. “We all know we’re engaged in a prolonged battle.”

Hours after Netanyahu spoke, the Israeli navy mentioned planes bombarded two Hamas positions within the northern Gaza Strip in response to flaming balloons launched into Israel.

On Saturday, the Israeli navy mentioned it struck a number of Hamas navy compounds and flattened plenty of its coaching camps. Hamas retaliated with greater than 200 rockets and mortars towards Israeli communities, it added.

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After Hamas accepted an Egypt-mediated cease-fire late Saturday, the scenario calmed down however flaming kites and balloons continued to float over into Israel, with the adopting signaling a brand new coverage of placing again instantly.

The federal government is beneath stress from native communities to indicate zero tolerance to this new risk, and Netanyahu informed native leaders that he had instructed the navy to halt it utterly.

“There is no such thing as a such factor as a cease-fire that doesn’t embody the flaming kites and balloons,” he mentioned.

“If this isn’t understood by means of my phrases, will probably be understood by means of the navy’s actions.”

On Sunday night, the navy introduced that following a “scenario evaluation” it strengthened its Iron Dome batteries in central Israel and within the nation’s south and referred to as up a small variety of reserve military troopers. The Iron Dome shot down greater than 20 projectiles over the weekend.

Plumes of smoke rise after Israeli strike in Gaza City

With Israel centered on efforts to forestall Iran from establishing a everlasting navy foothold in neighboring Syria, it has been cautious of escalating violence in Gaza. However the intensive offensive appeared geared toward signaling to Hamas that it was unafraid to interact if essential.

The flare-up got here after months of near-weekly border demonstrations organized by Hamas aimed partly to protest the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fireplace for the reason that protests started on March 30.

Israel says it’s defending its sovereign border and accuses Hamas of utilizing the protests as cowl for makes an attempt to breach the border fence and assault Israeli civilians and troopers.

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