Israel warns that it won’t sit quietly while dozens of arson balloons are launched from Gaza every day.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Hamas threatened Israel after it was reported that the Israeli government was debating whether to resume targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders.
Hamas leaders responded to the threat, reported to them by an Egyptian delegation, by saying “they will burn Tel Aviv with thousands of missiles,” a Lebanese paper reported Thursday.
The Al Akhbar daily said that the message was passed on through the Egyptian delegation currently attempting to calm a volatile standoff between the sides.
Dozens of arson and explosive balloons have been launched from Gaza on a daily basis for over a week, causing hundreds of fires in Israel’s south. Hamas then upped the ante on Tuesday night by firing a rocket that set off the Code Red sirens in Ashkelon and surrounding villages.
The rocket landed in an open space and caused no direct injuries, although a woman and two children were lightly hurt while running to a shelter.
The IDF responded by hitting terrorist targets in the coastal enclave, as it has every day that Palestinians have unleashed their incendiary devices. This is in line with a new government policy that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined to southern regional council heads Wednesday, where “the reaction to a fire is the same as the reaction to a rocket.”
If Hamas doesn’t cease its airborne attacks, the government is ready to order the IDF to expand its operations, he added.
“I regret that we are also preparing, to the extent necessary, for the possibility of a round or rounds. I hope that we will not get there,” he said.
What apparently really caught the terror organization’s attention was the warning issued the same day by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
“There are no security violations that don’t receive [a response]. We don’t just know how to strike buildings and targets, but also those operating within them,” he said during a tour of the southern region.
All Israel wants is a return to quiet and the return of the two Israeli civilians and two bodies of IDF soldiers Hamas has been holding on to for the last five years, he said.
Hamas, meanwhile, is demanding a host of concessions in order to stop its violence, including permits for 100,000 Gazans to work in Israel, allowing the importation of dual-use items, and reopening the Keren Shalom border crossing to all goods.
They are also insisting that Israel fulfill an offer it made in 2018 to improve the electricity infrastructure in Gaza and establish two industrial zones, although the proposal was made on condition that the hostages are returned and Hamas agrees to a ceasefire.