The Israeli military issued a stern warning to Hamas on Thursday, saying it must enforce its control over other terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad as tensions continue to simmer on the Gaza Strip border, while Israel’s foreign minister said the IDF was prepared for a major operation in Gaza.
Recent days have seen an uptick in attacks on southern Israel, with rockets and mortars being fired, as well as an infiltration attempt. The IDF has engaged in measured retaliation for each incident, many of which are believed to be the work of Iran-backed Islamic Jihad.
Israel holds Gaza-ruling Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the coastal enclave.
The Israeli news site Walla reported that Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson, addressed Gazans directly in a post on his Facebook page.
“The #Gaza strip is at the height of a path in which civil actions are implemented that will make tangible improvements in the civilian life of the population in the short and long term,” he said.
“It is enough to realize that follow-up on the state of electricity, fishing, export and import in the sector before and after these steps,” he added.
However, Adraee continued, “The #Islamic _ Jihad movement acts to destabilize, distort and prejudice those understandings. The Islamic Jihad movement has previously committed and is planning to commit subversive attacks, including rocket launches. #Israel does not and will not accept such attacks.”
“The consequences of this, the failure to implement civil actions for the population of the sector will fall on the Islamic Jihad,” he asserted. “#Hamas, as the governor of Gaza, must extend its influence and prevent these attacks and these plans.”
“We are determined to protect the citizens of Israel and will not accept attacks or rocket missiles against our citizens,” Adraee vowed. “We don’t have a problem with the residents of the [Gaza] sector, on the contrary.”
“The perpetrators of terrorist attacks will prevent the improvement of the situation and the development of the steps that have been implemented and planned to implement them, which will affect the general population of the sector,” he concluded.
Also on Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio, “The IDF is prepared for a wide campaign in Gaza. If the shooting continues, we will not hesitate for the sake of elections. We’ll establish the element of surprise.”