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January 23, 2019 12:07 pm

After Gaza Border Flare-Up, Israel’s Netanyahu Vows ‘Lethal’ Response to Any Further Violence

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with IDF troops at the Shizafon Training Base, Jan. 23, 2019. Photo: Netanyahu’s Twitter account.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vowed a “lethal and very painful” response to any further violence emanating from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu’s warning came a day after an Israeli soldier was wounded by a sniper on the Gaza border and the IDF retaliated with strikes on a number of Hamas sites in the coastal enclave.

Following the sniper incident, Netanyahu delayed a $15 million disbursement of cash from Qatar to Gaza that was supposed to take place on Wednesday.

While observing a training exercise at an IDF base in southern Israel on Wednesday, Netanyahu — who also is currently filling the role of defense minister — told troops, “I am certain of our ability to defeat the enemy. We are challenged from north and south, and from the east and from distant arenas — we are up to the task in these arenas.”

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“I am impressed by what I have seen here,” he added. “I see fighting spirit. Maybe there is someone in Gaza who thinks he can stick his head up; I suggest that they understand that the response will be lethal and very painful. We are ready for any scenario and escalation.”

Turning his attention to the Tehran regime, Netanyahu said, “The main enemy that we face is Iran. Iran declares its intention to destroy us with nuclear weapons, which we are committed to thwarting. But Iran is also building forces around us. It wants to squeeze us. They established a forward base in Lebanon, via Hezbollah. They established a southern base in Gaza, supported by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and now they want to establish a third base, right on our border, opposite the Golan Heights, as the Iranian military entrenches itself in Syria.”

“We are committed to fighting all of these,” he continued. “We are striking at the Iranian military in Syria. The IDF is the only military that is fighting the Iranian military in Syria. We are neutralizing the tunnels weapon, now with Operation Northern Shield in Lebanon, and in Gaza. We are facing Iran and its proxies on these three fronts.”

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