Middle east

Israel Defense Forces to ‘React Strongly’ if Gaza Rocket Launches Continue – Reports

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – The Israeli military warns that it will respond powerfully in case of more rocket launches from Gaza, The Jerusalem Post reports.

After a Monday meeting, Israel’s security cabinet authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to instruct the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to react strongly if more rockets are fired, the newspaper said.

According to The Jerusalem Post, on Monday, the security cabinet also voted in favor of an operational plan to strike Hamas.

Earlier on Monday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland met with Israeli officials to discuss the recent escalation around Gaza.

In the past days, more than 40 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, several of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System. The escalation of hostilities began on Friday, when three rockets were fired toward Israel from Gaza (one of them was intercepted by the Iron Dome). In the early hours of Monday, the IDF reported on three rocket launches from Gaza: two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome, while one rocket exploded inside Gaza.

Israel has targeted Hamas infrastructure in Gaza in response to the weekend rocket launches. Head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash told Sputnik that Israel completely closed the Gaza Strip offshore fishing zone starting Monday morning, until further notice.

Tensions have intensified in the region ever since former US President Donald Trump unveiled the so-called “deal of the centure”, which suggested that Israel would annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, and have Jerusalem as its “undivided capital.” The deal triggered strong backlash across the world, with Palestine insisting on restoring its pre-1967 borders and having Jerusalem as its capital.

Russia has never believed that the deal in its current form would contribute to a lasting Middle East settlement and expected the new US administration to potentially reject it.

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