(JTA) – Israeli security forces closed off roads near the Gaza Strip in an unusual move that comes hours after the country’s defence minister tacitly threatened military action against Hamas.
Ahead of the four road closures Friday, Avigdor Liberman on Thursday noted in a Twitter message that the Israel Defense Forces have “exacted a heavy price from rioters on the Gaza border” – a reference to the slaying of several people in disturbances over the past few weeks. “It is now ‘after the holidays’ and my message to Hamas leaders is: Take this into account.”
Israel’s security apparatus considers the Jewish High Holiday period, which usually falls on September-October and which ended last week, a time of elevated risk of terrorist attacks. Often, this risk leads to closures on Palestinians in the West Bank alongside increased restraint in Israel’s treatment of that population out of a desire to avoid disturbances that would require holiday enlistments or mobilization.
Incidents along the Gaza border accounted for the majority of the terrorist attacks recorded by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) since June, ISA said in its monthly report for September. That month, 124 incidents were recorded along the Gaza border out of a total tally of 206 cases.
A grenade that Gaza terrorists hurled across the border fence resulted in moderate injuries to a border patrol officer – the only person who was wounded in terrorist attacks last month. Another person, civilian Ari Fuld, was killed in a stabbing attack in the West Bank in September.