(JNS.org) Israel is not interested in another conflict in the Gaza Strip, but it “will not tolerate any infringement on its sovereignty” and “will retaliate to any provocation,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday, following this week’s discovery and destruction of a Palestinian terror tunnel dug under the Israel-Gaza border.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, Lieberman commended the IDF’s handling of the tunnel, saying that the Israeli defense establishment “is following the situation in southern Israel very closely. We’re ready for any scenario.”
Israel believes that after seven Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in the explosion that destroyed the tunnel, the Gaza-based terror group is likely to retaliate. According to Israeli defense officials, Islamic Jihad might mount a limited reaction to exact a price from Israel while avoiding a broader security escalation.
The IDF has elevated the alert level on the Gaza border, as well as in several other locations.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, Gaza Division Commander Col. Yehuda Fuchs, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai and other senior security officers held a situation assessment in the Gaza sector on Tuesday.
“The IDF’s operation [to destroy the tunnel] neutralized a threat to the Israeli public. That was its purpose,” Eizenkot said. “This operation joins many others, both overt and covert, that IDF forces carry out and we will continue to do so to counter any threat, at any time and in any situation. The IDF continues to be prepared for any scenario and monitors terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip closely. Any violation of Israeli sovereignty will be met with determination, as we have done now.”