Israel’s interim prime minister Yair Lapid said Friday his country has “zero tolerance” for militant attacks from Gaza, but added that Israel had no interest in entering a “wider war”.
“Israel will not stand idly by when someone tries to harm our civilians,” he said in a televised statement from Tel Aviv.
Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes into Gaza Friday, killing at least 10 people, including senior militant figures, and wounding dozens, according to Palestinian officials.
Israel said it was targeting the militant group “Islamist Jihad” in response to “immediate threats” following the arrest of another senior militant figure in the West Bank earlier this week.
Palestinian militants launched a series of rocket fire hours later as air raid sirens sounded in central and southern Israel. This situation brought both sides closer to open war.
Israel and Gaza’s rulers Hamas have fought four wars and several skirmishes over the past 15 years that have caused great suffering to two million Palestinians.
The violence is an early test for Lapid, who takes over as prime minister ahead of November’s election in which he hopes to keep his job.
Lapid has experience in diplomacy, and previously held the position of Foreign Minister in this government, but his experience in dealing with security issues is still lacking. [jm/pp]