Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Islamic Jihad and Hamas on Monday that there will be a war if rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues.
In an interview on Army Radio on Monday morning, Netanyahu said that he sent a message to Hamas that if it doesn’t stop the terror groups launching the rockets, Israel will target Hamas.
“If you don’t shoot them we’ll shoot you,” Netanyahu said. “I’m talking about a war. I’m not looking for a war. But we have something prepared you can’t even imagine.”
Later on Monday, Netanyahu said to reporters on while on a visit to Ariel, a city in the Shomron: “Islamic Jihad and Hamas have to understand that this can’t continue.”
“If they don’t stop the rocket fire completely…we’ll be forced to implement the plan for the wide-scale operation we’ve prepared,” the prime minister asserted. “It contains new surprising things.”
Netanyahu was in Ariel on Monday to meet with the US-Israel committee tasked with mapping the areas in Judea and Samaria which will fall under Israeli sovereignty according to US President Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”
— ראש ממשלת ישראל (@IsraeliPM_heb) February 24, 2020
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday afternoon on i24News that the IDF did something “sort of new” in the past 24 hours by striking the “source” – the Islamic Jihad command center in Syria rather than just striking the terrorists in the Gaza Strip who launched the rockets.
🔴WATCH: Israeli Defense Minister @naftalibennett spoke to #i24NEWS as the country came under attack, with multiple rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel — Full interview tonight on 'The Rundown' pic.twitter.com/COWEsT09OX
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 24, 2020
Earlier on Monday, Bennet said at a conference: “We’re preparing a plan for a fundamental change of the situation in the Gaza Strip.”
Bennett’s words came after a night of IAF airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror targets in the Gaza Strip and Syria following a barrage of 22 rockets launched into Israel on Sunday evening from the Gaza Strip.
“I well understand the situation of southern residents,” Bennett said. “They deserve quiet and security.”
“We eliminated at least six terrorists in the last 24 hours – not only in Gaza but we advanced to striking the source of the problem. Deterrence is not built in a moment.”
Bennett also spoke about the criticism some directed at the IDF following the “bulldozer incident” when the IDF fought off PIJ terrorists trying to drag away the dead body of a terrorist with a bulldozer it was using to retrieve the body. The graphic footage of the bulldozer lifting the terrorist’s body spread on social media, with some leftists calling the action “inhumane.”
“There’s been a lot of criticism that ‘it didn’t look good,'” Bennett said. “Stop confusing the issues. There’s nothing more humane than collecting bargaining chips in order to return our sons.”
“I have a goal to return Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul [whose bodies have been held by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge in 2014] home but not through releasing terrorists.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)