An Israeli minister has called for a major military offensive against the Gaza Strip, hours after the regime carried out an airstrike on the impoverished coastal sliver.
Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aaronovitch, whose remarks were aired by the Israeli public radio and Channel One TV, claimed that “the steady shower of missiles” from Gaza is not tolerable and Israel must retaliate with a “broad military action,” AFP reported on Tuesday.
The hawkish remarks of the Israeli official came amid a recent surge of violence, including airstrikes on Gaza and arrests of Palestinian civilians in the region.
On Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets pounded a tunnel under the enclave’s border with Egypt.
The Israeli army frequently bombs the tunnel network in Gaza, claiming that Palestinian resistance fighters use the tunnels to store and smuggle in weapons.
Palestinians, however, dismiss such allegations, insisting that they were forced to resort to the underground tunnels to bring in basic living supplies to the impoverished Gazans because the territory has been sealed off to the outside world by a punishing Israeli blockade for over three years.
Earlier on Monday, Israeli military forces shot dead two Palestinians in the Qalandia refugee camp in the occupied West Bank after the two hurled stones at Israeli troops who were making arrests in the camp.
In another incident on Friday, at least 15 Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers were trying to disperse peaceful protesters demanding the reopening of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village in northern West Bank.
Israel also launched an all-out military offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip three days before the turn of 2009. The ensuing three-week war killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, including many women and children.