TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv is ready to wage a broad military campaign in Gaza if needed, after a two-day flareup of cross-border fighting which has left several people injured on both sides.
“All Israelis should know that if a comprehensive campaign is required, we will enter it strong and safe, and after we have exhausted all of the other possibilities,” Netanyahu stated after visiting the Gaza frontier, where he met some Israeli commanders, presstv reported.
His comments came after two consecutive nights of heavy Israeli bombardments, which wounded several Palestinians but were responded to with a rocket attack from the enclave. The attack wounded seven Israelis in Mishmeret, an agricultural town North of Tel Aviv, on Monday, and forced Netanyahu to cut short his visit to the US.
Palestinian resistance groups on Wednesday fired rockets into Israel in response to the regime’s airstrikes on several areas, including the town of Khan Yunis and the Rafah border crossing South of Gaza City.
At least three young Palestinian men have been wounded after an Israeli military aircrafts fired a missile towards a crowd of Palestinian youths in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon.
They were targeted East of Jabaliya in the Northern parts of the blockaded enclave, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported, citing local sources. They were allegedly launching incendiary kites and balloons when the Israeli missile landed near them, it added.
The rockets fired from Gaza have turned into a major security challenge for Netanyahu ahead of Israel’s April election. In power for a decade and beset by corruption allegations, he is facing his strongest electoral challenge from a centrist coalition led by a former general.
The Israeli military has deployed artillery and tank brigades along the so-called buffer zone with Gaza.
“The military will resort to a very strong hand against anyone trying to confront our troops,” Israeli Security Cabinet Minister Arye Deri told Army Radio.
The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process expressed concerns Tuesday over the escalation of violence.
“I am concerned that we may, once again, be facing another very dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council, adding, “The last two days show how precariously close we came to the brink of war once again.”
In Gaza, organizers have announced plans for a massive protest on Saturday along the border to mark the first anniversary of weekly demonstrations at which Israeli forces have already killed more than 270 Palestinians.
Over 30,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries ever since the anti-occupation protest rallies, known as the Great March of Return, began in the Gaza Strip late March 2018.
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced last week that Israeli troops may have committed war crimes by using excessive force against the protests.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak mid-May last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided that year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.