TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas that a major IDF operation was not out of the question, and told the Gaza-ruling terror group “not to test us” as violence continued to flare up around the border area, with the weekend seeing another explosives-laden cluster of balloons land in Israeli territory.
“We have recently seen provocations and heads being raised from the direction of the Gaza Strip,” the prime minister said, adding that the air force would continue to take out Hamas targets in the Strip if the provocations continue.
“I heard people from Gaza saying that since we are in an election campaign a wide-ranging operation is out of the question. I suggest to Hamas: don’t count on it. We will do everything necessary to restore security and quiet to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and to the south in general,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
On Saturday, a cluster of balloons carrying a missile warhead was launched over the border from Gaza and landed in an Israeli field. Police sappers managed to detonate the device before it caused any harm.
A mortar shell was fired from Gaza later on Saturday, landing in an open field and causing no damage. The rocket fire triggered air raid sirens for the second day in a row, causing residents of Israel’s south to run for cover in bomb shelters. Violent border riots took place on Friday followed by mortar fire.
Violence along the border has steadily been increasing in recent days with rioters hurling rocks and explosives at troops, attempting to infiltrate the border fence as well as the resumption of incendiary devices being flown over the border armed with explosives.