Saturday, October 16th | 10 Heshvan 5782

March 13, 2016 3:25 pm

‘We Will Hit Back Harder Next Time,’ Says Israeli Defense Minister, Warning Hamas to Keep All Gaza Terrorism in Check

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel. Photo: Twitter.

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel. Photo: Twitter.

Despite the four rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel this weekend, and following retaliatory fire against Hamas targets in the Strip, the Israeli defense establishment does not believe that the terrorist organization is seeking an escalation of military confrontations with the IDF, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

During an event on Saturday honoring wounded IDF Armored Corps soldiers, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that though Friday night’s rocket-fire was perpetrated by a small terrorist group in Gaza — not Hamas itself — Hamas is nevertheless responsible for everything that goes on in the Strip. He also stressed that if such activities continue, it is Hamas that will be exposed to retaliatory strikes similar to the one in which two Palestinian children, a six-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother, were reportedly killed earlier that day.

Hamas’ military wing then released a statement saying that the blood of the two dead children will not have been “spilled in vain,” and that there is a limit to the organization’s patience in the face of “Israeli crimes.”

“We will not tolerate attempts to breach the peace in southern Israel,” said Ya’alon at the ceremony, a few hours before boarding a plane to the United States to meet with officials on defense-related matters. “It is thus that we retaliated forcefully against Hamas, and will hit even harder if such attempts continue.”

Ya’alon also referred to the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism that has taken its toll on Israel since mid-September. “We will beat this as well,” he said, according to Channel 2. “Because we don’t have any other choice or any other country. We will continue to pursue peace and extend a hand to our neighbors, among them the Palestinian Authority. This is how we were brought up, and this is how we are educating our sons and daughters. But we will know how to stand firm against those who wish us ill along and within our borders, as well as far away from them.”

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