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      Netanyahu to Lebanon, Hamas: 'Don't Test Us'

      Decries 'criminal attacks' on Israel, vows: 'Whoever fires at Israel's citizens, we will reach him and hit him with great force.'
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/4/2010, 10:39 PM / Last Update: 8/5/2010, 5:35 AM

      Netanyahu issues warning to Israel's enemies, following a series of attacks on Israel on several fronts.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the family of Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov Harari, who was killed in an ambush by the Lebanese Army Tuesday. He also sent get-well wishes to Captain (res.) Ezra Lakia, who was wounded in the attack, and who is now conscious and recovering.

      "In the past few days we have witnessed three criminal attacks on Israel's territory,” Netanyahu said. “An attack from Gaza on the the city of Ashkelon and the Gaza Belt communities; an attack on IDF forces who were carrying out routine activity inside Israeli territory – and I stress, they were inside Israeli territory; and between these two, another attack from the Sinai on the city of Eilat, and the city of Aqaba in Jordan.”

      "The use of a peace-seeking third country's territory to launch missiles at Israel will not aid Hamas in evading responsibility,” he warned. “The government of Israel views gravely the attacks on its citizens – in an attempt to harm its relations with Egypt and Jordan. Whoever fires at Israel, no matter where he fires from, we will reach him and hit him with great force.”

      "Immediately after the attack on Ashkelon,” the Prime Minister stated, “I instructed the IDF to respond decisively and it indeed did so. The IDF acted in Gaza, attacked Hamas facilities and killed a senior commander in Hamas's military wing. Also yesterday, in the North, the IDF responded quickly and hit the Lebanese Army and its facilities.”

      "I want to make clear to Hamas, and also to the government of Lebanon which we hold responsible for the violent provocation against our soldiers: do not test our determination to protect the citizens of Israel and its soldiers. It seems someone understood this, and tried to evade responsibility for his crimes,” Netanyahu said, in a hint at Hamas's evasion of responsibility for the missile attack on Ashkelon and Eilat.

      "Three days after our retaliation in Gaza," he said, "Grad missiles were fired from Sinai at Eilat and Aqaba by a supposedly anonymous agent. Several months earlier, on April 22, 2010, similar fire was carried out at Eilat. We investigated both of these incidents. We found beyond any doubt that a unit from Hamas's military wing fired the missiles in stealth, in both cases.”