A senior IDF commander stated on Sunday that Israel will continue to hold Hamas responsible for everything that happens in Gaza and will not hesitate to exercise its considerable strength. He also said that yesterday’s terror attack proves that Hamas is using the border protests “as a cover for terrorism.”

IDF soldiers along the border

IDF soldiers along the border Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

The head of the IDF Southern Command commented on the recent escalation in violence along Israel’s southern border with Gaza on Sunday afternoon and issued a warning to Hamas. “Anyone seeking to undermine Israel’s security will encounter a firm response,” Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir stated.

According to Zamir, yesterday’s terror attack is further proof that Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza are using the border protests and clashes “as a cover for terrorism.” The bomb was likely planted near the security barrier on Friday when Palestinian protesters clashed with IDF forces on the other side of the border. The terrorists then placed a flag near the bomb in order to draw IDF forces to the area.

The senior IDF commander added that Hamas is responsible for everything that happens in Gaza. “Hamas is responsible for what happens and starts in Gaza, above ground and underground,” he stressed. “We have considerable power and along with the desire to maintain stability and prevent an escalation, we will not hesitate to exercise it as needed.”

Four soldiers were injured by the bomb that was detonated on Saturday afternoon. They were evacuated from the scene to Soroka Medical Center. The hospital stated that two of the soldiers are in critical condition while the other two are in moderate condition.

In response to the terror attack, IDF tanks fired at two observation posts near the border. It is believed that the terrorists were monitoring the area from the posts and detonated the bomb when they saw the IDF soldiers approaching the site.

A few hours later, a rocket siren was sounded in the Israeli border communities after a rocket was fired from Gaza. The rocket hit a house in a Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council community but failed to explode. The incident occurred while the family was at home. None of the family members were injured but damage was caused to the home. Israel retaliated by targeting a total of 18 Hamas sites in Gaza, including an attack tunnel in al-Zaytun Quarter and a weapons manufacturing factory in Khan Yunis.