(please publish under staff writer 8)
Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, issued a stern warning to Israel that it will not ‘tolerate a new Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip’ as Israel enters its third day of air strikes. Haniyeh said,
“We will not under any circumstance accept these incursions,”
and iterated that Hamas does not seek a new war with Israel despite Hamas launching mortar rounds into Israel. The recent violence from Hamas has escalated exponentially since the 2014 war and now two newly discovered tunnels has amplified concerns that Hamas is rebuilding its tunnel network.
In 2014, Israel destroyed more than 30 tunnels Hamas had dug under the border. More than 2,200 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them civilians, were killed in the 50-day summer war. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and seven civilians were killed. While it stopped short of claiming responsibility for the mortar fire, Hamas’ armed wing said in a statement Wednesday that Israeli forces had made “incursions” into Gaza and that it would “not allow for this aggression to continue.”
The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the claim. The escalation comes amid a months-long wave of violence that has seen near-daily attacks by Palestinians, mostly stabbings, which have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. Some 193 Palestinians have been killed, most said by Israel to have been attackers and the rest killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
Hamas had earlier warned Israel to stop provocations or face a deadly response. The Ezzedine Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said Israeli forces had on Thursday encroached on the Palestinian territory and voiced readiness to retaliate. The recent flare-up has raised concerns over the fate of an Egypt-brokered truce deal between Hamas and Tel Aviv that put an end to the 2014 Israeli military campaign, and has since been largely holding.
What will it take to get Hamas to back down and stop its attack on Israel? Sound off in the comments below