Middle East analysts say Gaza is “at tipping point” amid warnings of a new round of violence between Israel and the Strip’s terrorists, after four rockets were fired at southern Israel on Saturday.
Israeli aircraft retaliated after the Iron Dome system intercepted three of the incoming threats. At around the same time Israeli jets were reportedly in action over Syria, bombing the town of Abu Kamal on the Syria-Iraq border where a pro-Iranian militia is based.
Last month hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel after the IDF killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza. At the same time, Israeli jets bombed the Damascus house of PIJ leader Akram al-Ajouri. He was out at the time, but the explosion killed his son.
Egyptian mediators have been trying to broker a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, whose political leader Ismail Haniyeh was last week allowed out of the Strip to visit regional leaders in Cairo, Istanbul and Moscow, as well as Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait and Malaysia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hamas there would be “no arrangement if the firing continues – on the contrary, the terrorists in Gaza will yet feel blows from our arm”.
Elsewhere, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennet said Israel needed “to move from containment to attack” when it comes to Iranian operatives near Israel’s northern border, telling the Islamic Republic: “Syria will become your Vietnam.”