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Netanyahu Warns Hamas

Reference to 'secret operations carried out by the IAF in recent years' was probably also aimed at Iran.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/26/2013, 5:51 PM

Netanyahu
Netanyahu
GPO photo

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delieverd a threatening message to Hamas and probably to Iran, too, on Thursday, although he specifically mentioned only the former.

"The secret operations that the Air Force carried out in recent years are evidence to the fact that we will not hesitate to strike those who threaten our existence,” he said at the graduation ceremony for new IAF pilots at Hatzerim Air Force Base. “We operate forcefully against any attack upon us, and we also take preventive actions ahead of time.”

The mention of secret Air Force operations can only be understood by informed listeners as a reference to attacks on a Syrian nuclear reactor and other military targets in Syria, Lebanon and Sudan, which Israel has never formally admitted to carrying out but which it is widely assumed to be responsible for. Thus, Netanyahu's message appears to have been aimed at Iran.

"Lately we experienced attacks against us,” he told the pilots. “Israel sees Hamas as being responsible. We will strike those who shoot, and we will strike those who sponsor them. No one will be immune.” This was Netanyahu's way of making clear that even if attacks against Israel are not carried out by Hamas terrorists but bysmaller organizations, retaliation will strike Hamas.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud-Beytenu) also addressed the pilots. Terror attacks “are the result of the harsh incitement in the Palestinian Authority,” he charged, “and of the unwillingness of its leaders to deucate the younger generation to coexistence, to a culture of peace and to recognition of Israe's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people in any borders.”