Netanyahu to Hamas: ‘If you escalate, the response will be destructive’


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas not to escalate violence in Gaza, warning on Wednesday of a strong response if it does so.

“There may be someone in Gaza who thought they could raise their head,” Netanyahu said during a visit to the Shizafon base in the south to observe a military maneuver. “I suggest that they understand that the response will be destructive and very painful, and we are ready for any scenario and escalation.”

His comments came after sniper fire from Gaza lightly wounded an IDF officer along the Gaza border on Tuesday. The officer was struck by a bullet that hit his helmet. The IDF responded with tank fire on a Hamas observation post that killed one.

Speaking to cadets of the IDF's officer course currently training at Shizafon, Netanyahu also addressed Iran, reiterating that it is Israel's “principal enemy.”

“Iran declares its intention to destroy us with nuclear weapons which we are committed to thwarting,” he said.”But Iran is also building up forces around us. They built a forward fortification in Lebanon through Hezbollah; they established a southern fortification in Gaza through Hamas and islamic Jihad; and now they want to establish a third fortification across from the Golan by entrenching the the Iranian army in Syria.

Netanyahu said that Israel is committed to fight against all of that, and is hitting the Iranian army in Syria. The IDF, he said, is the only army in the world fighting Iran, and is doing so in Syria.