Following a weekend that saw around 15,000 Palestinian rioters wreak violence on the Gaza border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Hamas on Sunday.
“Hamas, apparently, has not internalized the message,” Netanyahu said of the Gaza-ruling Islamist terror group at a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “If they do not stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful — very painful.”
“We are very close to a different kind of activity, an activity that will include very powerful blows,” the prime minister continued. “If it has sense, Hamas will stop firing and stop these violent disturbances — now.”
At least seven Palestinians were killed on the border on Friday.
The IDF said rioters had been “hurling rocks, explosive devices, firebombs and grenades” at Israeli troops and at the border fence.
Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus, of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, tweeted that one group had “detonated a bomb on the Israel-Gaza border fence,” allowing around 20 people to climb through the hole.
He said around five members of the group had then launched an organized attack against a military post inside Israel and all had been killed by IDF troops.
The Israel-Gaza border has been the scene of weekly Hamas-orchestrated riots since the end of March. Around 200 Palestinians have died in the unrest.
The IDF says its troops have used “riot dispersal means” and have fired “in accordance with standard operating procedures.”
One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper, and tracts of Israeli land have been scorched by incendiary kites and balloons.
On Saturday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that no fuel would be permitted to enter Gaza until the violence was completely halted.