07:44 GMT +323 October 2019
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    An explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza City, Saturday, May 4, 2019

    War in Gaza Could Start Before Elections - Israeli PM Netanyahu

    © AP Photo / Khalil Hamra
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    The statement comes amid an escalation on the Gaza border after Hamas launched several attacks against Israel, while the IDF responded with airstrikes against the militants.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday morning that war against armed groups in the Gaza Strip could break out at any moment, even before the upcoming Knesset elections.

    "An operation in Gaza could happen at any moment, including four days before the elections. The date of the elections does not factor [into a decision to go to war]", he said after returning from Russia, where he met with President Vladimir Putin.

    Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, Sunday, May 5, 2019
    © AP Photo / Ariel Schalit
    Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, Sunday, May 5, 2019

    Netanyahu's comment echoes his previous statement when the head of the government claimed that due to the rising tensions there "won't be a choice but to launch an operation, a war with the terror forces in Gaza". The politician also announced that if he is re-elected, he intended to order the annexation of considerable parts of the West Bank.

    The PM said that after he was forced to stop an election rally in Ashdod and start evacuations due to rocket sirens, triggered by an attack from the enclave.

    The snap vote is due to be held on 17 September 2019 and Israelis will have to elect MPs to the Knesset after the previous session was unable to form a government and voted to dissolve itself in May.

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    Tags:
    Hamas, Knesset, snap elections, Elections, Gaza, Gaza Strip, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu
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