FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photograph:( Reuters )
"Citizens of Israel, we are dealing with a campaign on two fronts. The first front – Gaza. I said that we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organisations. We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force," Netanyahu said
Israel PM Netanyahu on Thursday said his government is massing troops along the Gaza frontier ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory, as the two bitter enemies plunged closer to all-out war.
"Citizens of Israel, we are dealing with a campaign on two fronts. The first front – Gaza. I said that we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force. The last word has not been saying and this operation will continue as long as necessary to restore the quiet and security to the State of Israel," said Netanyahu.
"The second front – Israel's cities. I repeat what I said earlier today: We give 100% backing to the police, to the soldiers of the Border Police and to other security forces to restore law and order to Israel's cities. We will not tolerate anarchy," he added.
"We back the police in using all means with full powers, including in conjunction with the IDF and the ISA. We have given powers for an emergency here. These measures are important, legitimate and necessary to heartlessness in the State of Israel."
"I again call on the citizens of Israel not to take the law into their own hands; whoever does so will be punished severely. I would like to participate in the sorrow of the families that have lost their dear ones – the families of five-year-old Ido Avigal and soldier Omer Tabib and five other families of five citizens who unfortunately lost their lives. We will act with full force against enemies from outside and law-breakers from inside to rest too the State of Israel."
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has launched a major bombardment of the Gaza Strip from air, sea and land as Netanyahu vowed to extract a ‘heavy price’ from Hamas.
According to a report by The Times of Israel, over 1,050 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel since the outbreak of fighting on Monday evening, with 200 failing to clear the border and landing inside the enclave.
IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the Iron Dome air defence system had an interception rate between 85 and 90 per cent of rockets heading toward populated areas.
(With inputs from agencies)