Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Israel, 'Jihad' Exchange Threats, Netanyahu Vows ‘Tough Response’

Israel, 'Jihad' Exchange Threats, Netanyahu Vows ‘Tough Response’

Monday, 13 November, 2017 - 07:30
A member of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas gestures while searching for missing or dead militants after Israel blew up a cross-border tunnel, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

For the second time in less than 12 hours, Israel threatened both the Islamic Jihad and Hamas to violently retaliate to any plans or attempts to carry out attacks in response to the bombing of the tunnel on the Gaza Strip border last month, which killed 12 militants from the two movements, including five whose bodies were taken by the Israeli army.


These new threats come as calm prevails in the Gaza Strip due to the role assumed by Egypt in preventing the deterioration of the situation for the sake of the success of the Palestinian reconciliation.


Speaking at the beginning of a Cabinet session on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to harshly respond to any attack perpetrated by the Palestinian Islamist movements against Israeli areas.


“There are those who are still manipulating the idea of launching new attacks on Israel. We will respond harshly to anyone who tries to attack us from any front,” he stated.


“I mean all parties, whether factions or organizations, and we will hold (Hamas) responsible for any attack launched against us from the Gaza Strip,” he added.


Netanyahu’s remarks came few hours after the Israeli army’s coordinator of government activities, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, warned in a video that Islamic Jihad “will be playing with fire” if it retaliated for the destruction of the tunnel.


The Arabic video posted by Mordechai said: “We’re aware of the plot that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is concocting against Israel.”


“It is playing with fire on the backs of residents of the Gaza Strip, and at the expense of the internal Palestinian reconciliation and the entire region,” it added.


The Israeli army’s coordinator went on to say in his video: “Just to be clear, Israel will respond forcefully and resolutely to any Islamic Jihad reaction whatsoever — not just against Jihad, but also against Hamas.”


In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Political Analyst Mustafa Ibrahim said that Israel was seeking to distort the Palestinian reconciliation and accuse Hamas and the Islamic Jihad of working for Iranian interests.


For his part, Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, said that the recent threats have reflected the Israeli state of panic and confusion towards the reaction of the resistance to the crime of targeting the Palestinians. He added in a brief statement: “The valiant resistance will always stand ready to assume its duty to protect our people and impede the occupation equations.”

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