Israel does not seek to escalate tensions with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but is determined to ensure the security of its citizens, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday.
- Gaza rocket hits southern Israel for second time in 24 hours
- Small factions in Gaza could drag Israel, Hamas into military confrontation
- Israeli fighter pilot killed while abandoning F-16 upon return from airstrike in Gaza
Lieberman's statement followed the second firing of a rocket into Israeli territory in 24 hours and retaliatory fire from Israeli tanks at a Hamas post in the south of the strip.
"As Defense Minister I can say in the name of the government that Israel has responsible and prudent leadership," Lieberman said. "We are not looking for adventures and no one is promoting an escalation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip."
"But were determined to defend the security of the citizens of Israel, and that is a principle on which we will not compromise."
Lieberman added that all fire from Gaza into Israeli territory "will meet a powerful response."
"Hamas controls the strip without an iron fist and when it wants something or to avoid something, it knows how to do it," Lieberman continued. "So, also as regards the various prevailing issues, they need to try harder."
On Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot. There were no injuries. The Israeli army responded with tank fire and airstrikes targeting Hamas positions in Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces said that yesterday's rocket landed in an open area, without causing injuries or damage. On Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot, causing damage but no injuries.
An Israeli Air Force pilot was killed Wednesday as he ejected from his F-16I fighter jet after returning from an airstrike mission over Gaza in retaliation for the Sderot rocket attack.