A number of Israeli reinforcements have been near the border with Gaza, following last night’s round of airstrikes and rocket fire.’We are moving and we have moved forces in order to serve defense activities and forward preparation, but we have no interest in escalation,’ Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told journalists.
The reinforcements are reserve officers at ‘headquarter level, not in the field,’ Lerner said, adding:
‘We have no interest in deepening the conflict with Gaza.’
According to the army, more than 30 rockets were fired from Gaza over the past two days, some coming from Hamas. Damages were reported, but no casualties.
Israel responded with airstrikes, wounding 11 Palestinians in the Strip.
Unconfirmed reports of activity along the Gaza coast, by the Israeli navy, have also surfaced in recent hours.
Israel recently accused Hamas of abducting and killing three Israelis settlers and launched a massive arrest campaign, allegedly against the movement’s West Bank network, resulting in the deaths of at least 6 Palestinians, with over 600 people detained — this just following the confirmed shooting deaths, by Israeli soldiers, of two Palestinian teens during recent Nakba Day protests.
See IMEMC link search: Nowarah
Hamas has consistently denied the kidnapping allegations, and no evidence has been presented to confirm that the group was behind the boys’ disappearance.
Oddly, the bodies of the settlers were finally uncovered just near the area from which they reportedly went missing, and over 2 weeks following the extensive and brutal raids, conducted by Israel, throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
The families of the three Israeli settlers issued a statement, recently, regarding the incident:
‘If the Arab youth was murdered because of nationalistic motives then this is a horrible and horrendous act,’ it said, adding that ‘There is no difference between Arab blood and Jewish blood. Murder is murder. There is no forgiveness or justification for any murder.’
Yet, Israeli attacks by both settlers and soldiers have been on the increase.
Hamas warned Israel that it would ‘pay the price’ for the abduction and killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose burned body was found in East Jerusalem, on Wednesday, Ma’an News Agency has reported.
Several human rights organizations and international officials have also condemned the killing.
See IMEMC link search: Khdeir