Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel could go to war with Gaza

The prime minister's remarks follow two days of Israeli air strikes on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl objects during clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. AFP
A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl objects during clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. AFP

Israel could go to war with Gaza during the election period, if necessary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told local media on Sunday.

"Is it worth it now to enter Gaza? I am not sure. We are experiencing our best decade security-wise," he added, during an interview with Israel Radio.

The prime minister's remarks follow two days of Israeli air strikes on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians in Gaza had thrown a number of explosive devices towards the border fence with Israel, one of which set off air raid sirens in the south of the country late on Saturday, the army said.

"In response to multiple explosive devices that were hurled and exploded during Gaza riots near Israel's border fence this evening, an IDF aircraft targeted two Hamas observation posts in the southern Gaza Strip," a statement from the military read.

Gaza's Health Ministry on Sunday said a Palestinian had died of wounds sustained from Israeli gunfire during protests.

The ministry said Habib al-Masri, 24, was shot in the chest at protests near Beit Hanoun the previous night, and that two others were wounded. Hundreds had gathered for protests in various locations, hurling stones and firebombs toward Israel.

Demonstrators have been calling out against the siege, price increases and the ruling party, Hamas.

On Friday, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in separate border clashes.

And on Saturday, the Israeli army launched two separate air strikes against groups of Palestinians in Gaza who had allegedly flown balloons rigged with explosives into Israel.

The Gaza health ministry said two Palestinians had been wounded.

At least 258 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly border protests began nearly a year ago.

An Israeli soldier shoots at a balloon attached to a burning effigy sent over the border during Friday protests near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip. EPA
An Israeli soldier shoots at a balloon attached to a burning effigy sent over the border during Friday protests near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip. EPA

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya is calling for a mass turnout for border protests scheduled for the first anniversary of the demonstrations, on March 30.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks from Gaza, controlled by the Islamist group since 2007.

Updated: March 24, 2019 03:03 PM

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