The sudden escalation in rocket fire from Gaza has the potential of spiraling into a wider conflict. It is believed that those responsible for the uptick do not belong to Hamas but are taking their orders from other terrorist groups that roam Gaza, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Still, Hamas controls the borders and they could put a stop to the mischief if they wanted. That is why Israel holds Hamas, Gaza’s governing authority, responsible for all rocket fire and that is why Israel often directs its retaliatory fire at Hamas installations.
In addition to rocket fire, Islamic terrorist groups have been busy digging tunnels in an effort to infiltrate Israel for the purpose of carrying out mega attacks involving mass shootings and kidnappings. On December 10, Israel Defense Force intelligence and engineering units uncovered a Hamas tunnel that penetrated hundreds of yards into Israeli territory. The tunnel was destroyed in a controlled blast. Six weeks ago, the IDF destroyed a PIJ tunnel killing 14 terrorists including 12 PIJ members and 2 Hamas operatives attached to a naval commando unit.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Tel Aviv will no longer allow a game of "ping-pong" rocket exchanges to take place with Hamas.
“In the next few months all existing tunnels will be blown up and destroyed” by new technologies invented by Israel, Lieberman said during an interview with RTVI, adding that Israel is aiming to put an end to the "ping-pong” of rocket exchanges.
His comments come amid increased tensions between Israel and Palestinians - who are supported by Hamas - after US President Donald Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
According to Lieberman, Hamas is solely responsible for the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and argues that a large-scale attack from Hamas is inevitable, stating that "should Hamas be faced with the alternative of losing power or attacking Israel, without a doubt, Hamas will choose another conflict with Israel."
The defense minister also claims that Turkey has been tacitly supporting Hamas, and that "we should revisit all our ties" with Ankara, to sever any dependence from Turkey and to discontinue a proposed gas project with Ankara which would give a "key to our whole gas pipeline" and Israel's energy security to Erdogan - a situation which would have "far-reaching consequences."
Lieberman also believes that the previous rapprochement with Turkey was a mistake, as Turkey cannot be trusted. He said he does not “believe a single word from Erdogan,” who has been issuing threats and uses all possible pretexts - such as Trump’s Jerusalem decision - for open hostility towards Israel.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas have particularly escalated following Trump's Jerusalem decision, with the Palestinian militant group calling for a third intifada, or uprising. "The Hamas movement has called on the Palestinian people to face the Israeli occupation and adopt the blessed intifada option against it and against the American decision on Jerusalem," Hamas spokesperson Abdullatif Al Qanoua told RT.
The Israeli army bombed Hamas targets in Gaza in response to missile fire Sunday night.
According to Tamir Idan, head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza border prior before the missiles landed. “We expect and demand that the security forces issue a strong response, and clarify to the terrorists that the State of Israeli will not allow the fire to continue. We will not accept a situation in which emergency becomes routine,” Idan added.
The Israel Defense Forces said overnight strikes targeted a Hamas training compound in the northern Gaza Strip, destroying three structures and other “terror infrastructure” belonging to Hamas. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all hostile acts emanating from the Gaza Strip.