Netanyahu Promises “Vigorous” Retaliation to Gaza Fire

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Israel launched its first airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, April 2, since the Egyptian-mediated truce ended November’s eight-day bout of fighting.

“Occupation planes bombarded an open area in northern Gaza, there were no wounded,” the Hamas Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday, April 3, that if Hamas doesn’t stop firing at Israel rockets into Israel, they can expect a much stronger response.

“If the lull is violated, we will respond vigorously,” he said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “The security of Israel’s citizens tops my concerns and we will know how to defend the security of our citizens.”

Earlier Wednesday, just hours after Israeli planes bombed targets in the Gaza Strip as a response to rocket fire from the region- two more rockets were fired from the Hamas-controlled territory and hit southern Israel.

Shortly after, red alert warning sirens resounded across Sderot and the surrounding area in advance of the attacks. One of the rockets exploded in an open area in the Eshkol border region, Times of Israel reported.

“We will not abide a lapse into the situation the reigned in the days leading up to Operation Pillar of Defense,” said IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, “The south is strong and stable, everything is under control.”

Following the violence, a Channel 2 news program reported that Hamas— under intense pressure from Egypt— had made arrests among members of the group, sending out a general message that it was eager to preserve the cease-fire.

“From our perspective, it doesn’t matter who fired the rockets. Hamas is responsible,” IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said told Channel 2.

Meanwhile, Hamas is claiming that the rocket fire was a response to the death of a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel this past week.

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