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Israel prepared for ‘any scenario’ in Gaza: Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that Israel was prepared for “any scenario” in the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to an official statement.

“We are in the midst of a battle that involves an exchange of blows and I can tell you that the [Israeli] army is ready for any scenario,” Netanyahu reportedly said during a military inspection with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Asked whether ongoing tension along the Gaza-Israel border fence might be resolved non-militarily, he added: “I believe we are taking the right steps.”

Meanwhile, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Egyptian officials had called on Hamas to stop Palestinian activists in Gaza from flying incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory.

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According to the newspaper, Hamas responded to the Egyptian request by saying it had “already conveyed to Cairo this week its inability to end the practice”.

In recent weeks, activists in Gaza have been flying incendiary kites and balloons into Israel as part of ongoing demonstrations along the security fence.

Since the rallies first kicked off on Mar. 30, more than 130 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities.

—AA

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