08:51 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, April 15, 2018

    Netanyahu: Israel Deals 'Harshest Blow' to Gaza Militants in Years

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    Middle East
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on a recent exchange of fire between the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

    Speaking about the shelling of the Israeli territory within the last two days by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Tel Aviv would make its enemies "pay right away."

    "I'm not going into the details of our plans because I do not want the enemy to know what is in store for them, but one thing is clear to them: when they try us they pay right away. And if they continue to try us, they will pay much more," Netanyahu stated.

    The Israeli top official has further underlined the Israeli Defense Forces' actions in response to the attacks from the Gaza Strip.

    "Since yesterday, the IDF has reacted strongly to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the attack on dozens of terrorist targets, the hardest blow we have made in years," he said.

    Earlier in the day, Hamas announced that due to Egypt's mediation efforts it had reached an agreement with Israel to restore truce. Israel, in turn, refused to comment on reports about the truce. Sources told the Israel Radio International that despite the fact that there was no official agreement mediated by Egypt, there was a common understanding that, in the absence of attacks from the Gaza Strip, Israel would not conduct any strikes.

    READ MORE: Israel Denies Hamas Claims of Ceasefire Amid Largest Spike in Tensions in Years

    Israel-Gaza Exchange of Fire

    The IDF started a full-scale operation on Tuesday, responding to the missiles launched from the Gaza Strip. Speaking about the issue, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that the strikes against Gaza were "only the beginning."

    Since Tuesday morning, Al-Qassam Brigades, an armed wing of Hamas, and the Al-Quds Brigades of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that operate in the Gaza Strip have fired over 70 rockets and mines targeting southern Israeli districts. In response, Israeli forces hit 65 targets in the enclave belonging to militants.

    The situation on the border had escalated on Monday, particularly after an Israeli tank attacked a militant observation post in response to an attempted violation of the border by two Palestinians.

    The situation along the Israel-Gaza border remains quite tense since March when the Palestinians started a protest campaign dubbed the Great March of Return. The wave of rallies resulted in violent clashes between Palestinian protestors and the IDF. Israel has explained its actions citing security reasons, saying it is defending its borders and blaming Hamas for encouraging thousands of Palestinians to attempt to break through the border and attack Israelis.

    mortar fire, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza Strip, Palestine, Israel
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