Israel Strikes Group Launching Firebombs From Gaza; Three Said Wounded

Meanwhile, Netanyahu says Israel will only launch major Gaza campaign after exhausting all options

FILE PHOTO: Balloons carrying incendiary devices are seen floating from the Gaza Strip to Israel, January 8, 2019.
\ Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli military said on Thursday that it struck a group of Palestinians launching firebombs from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel. Reports in the coastal enclave said three people were wounded in the attack.

The announcements came shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would only launch a major military offensive in the Strip after exhausting all other options. 

"I've ordered to bolster our forces and to prepare for a major campaign. All Israeli citizens should know that if we need to enter a major offensive, we'll enter it strong and after exhausting all other options," he said during a visit on the Gaza border Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israel-Gaza border, March 28, 2019.
Kobi Gideon / GPO

"We're operating on several fronts at the same time. Not far from here is the Golan Heights, where President [Donald] Trump recognized our sovereignty over three days ago," he said, referring to Trump signing a presidential proclamation on the matter Monday. "This is a major achievement for Israel." 

"Beyond the Golan Heights is Syria and also Iran. Iran constantly tries to bring long-range precision missiles into Syria, very advanced and very lethal. We won't have it and our action against Iran's attempts to entrench militarily in Syria are ongoing at all times," the premier said.

On Tuesday night, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and the Israel Air Force retaliated with limited attacks on several targets linked to Hamas.

As Haaretz's Amos Harel writes, if Hamas and Israel do not reach understandings, mediated by Egypt, on mutual restraint, at the end of the week Hamas is expected to march tens of thousands of demonstrators to the Gaza border fence.

The previous times that the organization initiated mass demonstrations over the past year they involved attempts to breach the fence, extensive sniper fire by the Israel Defense Forces and many Palestinian casualties.