Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon expressed hope that Israel is not drawn into another war in the Gaza Strip but warned Hamas against testing Jerusalem's willingness to defend itself, in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday.
Ya'alon, a former IDF chief of general-staff, said that military action is always the last option.
"I don't recommend that Hamas test us in the coming days," he warned. "They have taken some hard hits and they will sustain even harsher ones" if they continue firing rockets and mortars at Israel, he said.
"We have a lot of options," he added, "and the IDF is prepared for them."
The deputy prime minister, who also serves as the minister of strategic affairs, addressed internal arguments and power struggles taking place between Hamas' military and political echelons, saying that it "doesn't interest us." If Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip, he said, "they they are responsible" for what happens there.
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