Israel carried out a troop deployment towards the Gaza border on Thursday, as rockets from the Hamas enclave continue to fall in a recent escalation of attacks.
"We are moving and we have moved forces in order to serve defense activities and forward preparation, but we have no interest in escalation," IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.
The spokesperson added that the reinforcements consist of reserve officers at "headquarter level, not in the field," adding the move was intended defensively.
"We have no interest in deepening the conflict with Gaza," said Lerner.
In response to the rocket escalation, the IAF conducted an airstrike on southern Gaza Thursday afternoon, targeting several suspicious areas near the Rafiah border crossing to Sinai. The IDF announced the airstrike was meant as an act of deterrence against the rocket fire.
Over 30 rockets have peppered southern Israel from Gaza during the course of Wednesday and Thursday. The most recent fell Thursday afternoon in open area in the Merhavim Regional Council area, after a rocket hit open area right next to the Sderot industrial area mere hours earlier. No injuries were reported in either incident.
Sderot's industrial area took a harsh blow on Saturday night, when a direct hit was recorded on a plastics factory, burning it completely to the ground. Another rocket hit a summer day camp on Thursday, only moments before children were to arrive.
While there has been an ongoing rocket escalation since the three Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Gilad Sha'ar (16) were abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists on June 12, the recent blitz since Wednesday began the day that Mohammed Abu Khder of Beit Hanina, Jerusalem was found burned to death after having been abducted.
There have been wide accusations of Jewish "revenge" being behind the murder, but a senior former police official familiar with Abu Khder's family told Arutz Sheva it was a family with a long police record, known for violent internal clashes, adding "I have no doubt that as time passes it will be clarified that the murder was criminal and nothing more."
In a little-noticed report on Channel Two Wednesday night, reporter Moshe Nussbaum cited contradictory statements by the youth's parents, who both told police different stories about another attempted kidnapping – that of Muhammad's nine year old brother – that may or may not have taken place.
During the ensuing riots in Beit Hanina and Shuafat after the announcement of the murder, several Arab residents reportedly attacked a young local Arab, possibly indicating the internal clashes the source spoke of.