The IDF remains on high alert along the Gaza border amid fears that Hamas will try to carry out rocket attacks during the Passover holiday. In the violent clashes on Friday, Hamas lost at least 9 members, according to an IDF investigation. The terrorist group vowed on Saturday that Israel “will pay the price” for the violence.

IDF soldiers near the border on Friday

IDF soldiers near the border on Friday Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

The IDF forces that were sent to southern Israel ahead of the “March of Return” event in Gaza will remain in the area throughout the Passover holiday. The Israeli military believes that Hamas will attempt to harm Israel’s security in the immediate aftermath of the clashes and could even decide to fire rockets at Israeli communities near the border.

In light of this possibility, the IDF deployed an additional Iron Dome battery to southern Israel. Most of the Palestinians who were killed in Friday’s massive protest were Hamas terrorists. In a statement released Saturday as funerals were held in Gaza, the terrorist group vowed to avenge the deaths of its members. “The blood of our martyrs was not spilled in vain,” the statement read. “The enemy will pay the price for this.”

Israeli opposition parties were divided regarding the clashes and violence. While the Joint Arab List and Meretz condemned the Israeli response, the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid voiced their support for the Israeli military. “I’m proud of the IDF soldiers and commanders,” Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to their determination and professionalism, we all celebrated the Passover seder with our families peacefully. Hamas shouldn’t try us. The residents of Gaza need to turn their protest to Ismail Haniyeh and Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], who are to blame for their difficult situation.”

Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg called for an investigation into the IDF’s use of deadly force. “It’s first and foremost an Israeli duty and it’s also an Israeli interest to prevent another round of violence,” she added on social media. “We cannot allow a ‘trigger-happy’ policy to lead to the loss of innocent lives.”