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March 28, 2019 12:36 pm

Netanyahu: Israel Ready for ‘Extensive Campaign’ Against Hamas in Gaza, ‘if Necessary’

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IDF soldiers gather next to armored vehicles near the Israel-Gaza Strip border, March 27, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

Following a meeting with IDF commanders on the border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the Israeli military was ready for an “extensive campaign” in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, “if necessary.”

When such an operation was launched, Netanyahu said, Israel would “go into it strong and secure, after all other possibilities have been exhausted.”

Netanyahu also commented on US President Donald Trump’s official recognition earlier this week of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, calling it a “tremendous diplomatic achievement” for the Jewish state.

Turning to Iran, the Israeli prime minister said the Tehran regime was “constantly trying to bring precision long-range missiles, which are very advanced and very lethal, into Syria.”

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“We are not prepared to accept this and our activity against Iran’s attempt to entrench militarily in Syria, to bring in advance weaponry, is continuing all the time,” he stated.

The coming weekend is expected to be a tense one on the Israel-Gaza frontier, as Palestinians mark “Land Day,” as well as the one-year anniversary of the start of weekly border protests that have often turned violent.

Anticipating potential unrest, the IDF has bolstered its forces in the border area.

Earlier this week, a Hamas rocket attack on a moshav north of Tel Aviv and retaliatory IDF strikes in Gaza brought the two sides as close to all-out war they have been since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

On Thursday, the IDF targeted a group of terrorists on the Gaza border who were sending incendiary balloons toward Israel.

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