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Israeli Military Instructed To Prepare For Large-scale Gaza Op
Palestinians prepare to fly a kite loaded with an incendiary during a demonstration along the border with Israel east of Jabalia in the central Gaza Strip on June 8, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli Military Instructed To Prepare For Large-scale Gaza Op

The Israeli government has instructed the military to prepare for a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, to be initiated if Palestinians in the enclave do not cease flying incendiary objects into southern Israel. According to a local Channel 10 report, Jerusalem has set Friday as a deadline for the flaming kites and balloons to be stopped, a message that was conveyed to Hamas via Egyptian intermediaries. The report claimed that Gaza’s rulers, in turn, committed to grounding the “terror kites”—which have destroyed thousands of acres of land and caused an estimated $2 million in damage—by deploying additional fighters to positions near the frontier. In the interim, Israel has closed the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza, cutting-off the flow of non-essential goods, including fuel, into the territory. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is under pressure to act in the face of ongoing unrest along the Gaza border, where violent “March of Return” protests have been staged every week for months. Over the weekend, Hamas fired about 200 projectiles at Israel, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to carry out its largest daytime aerial operation in Gaza since the 50-day conflict in 2014. On Sunday, the IDF’s 162nd Armored Division conducted a highly-publicized exercise simulating an invasion of enclave, in what was widely construed as a threat to Hamas. During a tour Tuesday of the military’s Gaza Division, Prime Minister Netanyahu, flanked by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, declared that Israel was already in a “military campaign.”

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