Netanyahu hints at further Gaza action: Either Hamas reins in rocket fire or we will

PM warns Hamas that it must stop violations of Operation Pillar of Defense de facto ceasefire or Israel will be forced to act.

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June 30, 2014 14:20
2 minute read.
Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, June 30, 2014. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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If Hamas does not stop rocket fire, Israel will take action, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday after at least 14 rockets exploded in an an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel.

The rockets fell following a series of Code Red rocket alert sirens throughout Monday morning, the IDF said. A home was lightly damaged from shrapnel caused by one of the rockets, police said.

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Earlier two rockets exploded in the South in open areas.

The prime minister told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Hamas should take into account that we won’t allowed continued shooting.

“We want to make clear that if the silence brought by Operation Pillar of Defense [in 2012] is violated and the shooting continues, there are two options: Either Hamas will stop the rocket fire or we will,” Netanyahu stated.

The prime minister’s appearance before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was the panel’s first general meeting since Operation Brother’s Keeper began.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid visited Sderot on Monday, saying residents of the South “must know that we will not allow terrorist organizations’ attempts to harm their daily routine. Hamas is responsible and it will pay the price.”



Lapid pointed out that if the factory in Sderot that was hit by rockets on Saturday night had been attacked during the week, people would have been killed.

“I visited the armored playground.

There is something unnatural about the fact that children are playing under a concrete ceiling because someone wants to kill them,” he said.

The rocket attacks from Gaza followed an air force strike that killed a terrorist preparing to fire projectiles on Sunday.

The IDF is checking to see whether the terrorist killed belonged to Hamas, a senior security source said Monday.

Hamas said the casualty was a member of its military wing.

“We know unequivocally that the terrorist killed in the strike was preparing to fire rockets,” the source added.

The security source noted that a Givati infantry unit operating along the Gaza border came under fire on Sunday, as well.

Hamas has not been behind recent rocket attacks, but rather, smaller terrorist groups in the Strip, according to military assessments. “[But] we are more interested in who is responsible [for Gaza],” he said.

“We are weighing our steps and managing a responsible policy regarding all aspects linked to Gaza,” the source said. “We understand that this rocket fire is becoming daily.

Our responses are in accordance to that. The policy of the Southern Command is one of escalating responses, both in scope and the quality of targets.”

The IDF is aware of the fact Hamas has a problem in restraining smaller Gazan terror groups from firing rockets, the source said, “but we also understand that the motives are less interesting [to Israel], and the results are what count,” he added. “Our aim is to stop this rocket fire.”

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