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December 24, 2014 10:51 am

Netanyahu, IDF Chief Warn of ‘Firm’ Response to Gaza Sniper Attack

avatar by Dave Bender

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Israeli tank and watchtower overlooking Gaza Strip. Illustration. Photo: Dave Bender.

Israeli tank and watchtower overlooking Gaza Strip. Illustration. Photo: Dave Bender.

In response to a Palestinian sniping attack against an IDF patrol along the Gaza border Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “a firm response against every attempt to disrupt the quiet in the south.”

The sniper hit a soldier from a Bedouin reconnaissance unit in the chest, according to the IDF Spokesman. The soldier, who was part of a patrol guarding work on the security fence along the southern end of he coastal enclave, was helicoptered to a Beersheba hospital with serious wounds, Ynet News reported.

“We will respond forcefully every time there will be an attempt to disrupt the quiet that was achieved after Operation Protective Edge,” Netanyahu said in a statement sent to reporters.

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The army quickly responded to the shooting with tank fire at the source of the gunfire, and an airstrike at unspecified targets, reportedly killing the chief of Hamas’ surveillance unit.

IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, said the army “will not allow such events to pass without a response.”

“There is a likelihood that events will deteriorate and develop into a significant event, linked between the fronts,” Gantz cautioned.

Palestinians reported one dead and two wounded in the IDF retaliation.

Hamas’ Interior Ministry instructed personnel to clear out of structures east of Khan Yunis, fearing more Israeli counterstrikes.

“The occupation is playing with fire, and the occupation will pay the price,” a Hamas spokesman threatened.

“This attack, the second of this week, is a lethal violation of the relative quiet along the Gaza border and is a blatant breach of Israel’s sovereignty,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in response to the event.

“The IDF will continue to use all necessary means in order to maintain the safety of the citizens of southern Israel and will not hesitate to respond to any attempt to harm IDF soldiers,” Lerner said in a statement to reporters.

In an address to an economic conference on Wednesday, Gantz emphasized that “instability in the region regularly characterizes the IDF’s life. We have no intention of allowing these challenges to pass without a response. We responded and will respond strongly, if required. A senior Hamas military commander was killed in the incident, the most serious one along the Gaza border since the end of Operation Protective Edge.”

Israeli police and security officials instructed local farms and kibbutzim to pull their workers out of fields adjacent to Gaza for their safety.

In a related and dramatic policy shift announced Monday, Israel’s Home Front Command is recommending that residents in dozens of communities near the border with Gaza be evacuated in the event of any new sustained clash between the IDF and terrorist rocket and mortar fire, Israel Defense said.

Dozens of towns and kibbutzim containing some 10,000 residents living within seven kilometers of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave suffered the bulk of over 4,000 rockets and mortars fired by terrorists during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

The much heralded Iron Dome anti-missile system, while capable of knocking mid-range (roughly 7 to 80 kilometers) rockets like Qassams and longer-range Grads out of the sky, is far less able to lock on to and hit smaller, short-range mortar shells.

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  • Stop the talking. Stop the threats. Stop the warnings. These despicable, murderous, savages only respect getting their heads handed to them. To deal with them successfully Israel must unfortunately climb down to their level and meet them on their own terms.

  • JOHN TRAIN

    The IDF statements and the statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu are pure bull.
    The way you deter is through painful actions so that the enemy decides never again. These bombastic threats which are empty only encourage the enemy.

    Announcing evacuation means they won because you surrendered.

  • shloime

    while it is perfectly reasonable to evacuate civilians from the line of fire “in the event of any new sustained clash”, it is very foolish to announce these policies publicly.

    the hamas terrorists now know that, if they heat up the border enough, they can cause significant economic damage to the bordering communities, even if iron dome prevents them (with god’s help) from killing jews. and this will only encourage more attacks.

  • charlie johnson

    >> is far less able to lock on to and hit smaller, short-range mortar shells.<<< The mortar projectiles leave a heat track all the way back to the mortar tube.You need to train and fund your creative redneck Jews to design a counter mortar device and put an end to mortar attacks.The USA military blocks good inventors from offering them these kind of inventions because the big corporate CEOs buy our politicians and develop wonderful items like the new robot pack dog that will bust the budget and get a lot of good infantrymen killed in combat.But,If they see one they like that was submitted they just steal it. Due to the emergency situation that Israel finds hostility on a daily basis I would hope their military cares more for their soldiers lives than the golfers who feed off the taxpayers.

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