Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman convenes with IDF officers in the Gaza region.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY/ARIEL HERMONI)
The Hamas military project is a failure, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday morning, suggesting that instead of military activity, Hamas should invest in improving the quality of life in the Gaza Strip.
"Tonight, the IDF destroyed another tunnel of the Hamas terrorist organization. Attempts to attack the State of Israel from the air, the ground or underground will be blocked by an iron wall that is the IDF forces," he wrote.
"It would be good for Hamas leaders to internalize that their military project is a failure and invest resources in improving the lives of Gaza residents."
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has been worsening dramatically recently with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling the coastal enclave a "constant humanitarian emergency."
“The United Nations Country Team in Palestine has predicted that Gaza will become unlivable by 2020, unless concrete action is taken to improve basic services and infrastructure,” he said at the opening of the 2018 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in February.
IDF humanitarian aid packaged for the Gaza Strip, May 15, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
However, transferring humanitarian aid to Gaza has proved difficult. Hamas has frequently turned away truckloads of Israeli humanitarian aid intended to relieve shortages in the Strip.
In addition, the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used to transfer aid into Gaza, was only reopened last week after it had been closed following violent protesters setting it ablaze for the second time in two weeks causing damage worth NIS 30 million ($8.3m).
Damage caused at the Kerem Shalom humanitarian crossing by dozens of violent rioters under the auspices Hamas, May 11, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Liberman's comments on Wednesday morning came in response to Israeli Air Force activity earlier that day, targeting underground terror infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip. Two further targets belonging to Hamas's naval forces in Gaza were also targeted.
Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanu responded to the IDF activity, stating that "The ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip is a continuation of the blatant Zionist attack on our people and another failed attempt at stopping the 'March of Return' which will break the siege."
"We will continue our popular demonstrations with all our strength," he added. "The occupation will not succeed in breaking the steadfastness and the will of our people."
Local residents said the strikes destroyed a boat moored in Gaza City which was due to sail to meet a flotilla of boats hoping to reach Gaza
. No casualties were reported.
Israeli air strike targets boat moored in Gaza, May 23, 2018 (Reuters)
According to military sources, the strikes came in response to an arson attack on an Israeli military position by a number of Palestinians who infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning and ongoing attempts to harm Israel using drones and kites.
"The Hamas terror organization is accountable for all threats originating from the Gaza Strip, above and below ground, and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty," an IDF statement said.
Amid recent protests and violent clashes with IDF troops on the Gaza border, Palestinians have made several attempts to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip with varying degrees of success.Reuters and Jpost Staff contributed to this story.
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