Israel warns Lebanon, Hamas to "hit them hard`

Israel warned Lebanon and Hamas that it would "hit them hard" for every attack on its territory.

Updated: Aug 05, 2010, 18:19 PM IST

Jerusalem: Israel on Thursday warned Lebanon and
the Islamist group Hamas that it would retaliate for every
attack on its territory by "hitting them hard" amid escalation
in tensions in the region.

"I want to make very clear to Hamas and to the
Lebanese government that we view them as responsible for the
violent provocation against us. Don`t test our determination
to protect our citizens. Israel will retaliate for every
assault," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned today.
Accusing the Islamist faction Hamas, which controls
the Gaza Strip, of being responsible for rocket fire on Israel
and Jordan`s Red Sea ports, Netanyahu warned that his country
would retaliate.

"Over recent days we`ve witnessed three attacks
against Israel. An attack from Gaza on Ashkelon, an attack by
the Lebanese army on Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops
carrying out a routine operation, and another attack from the
Sinai peninsula at Eilat," Netanyahu said in a special
announcement on television.

Egyptian officials earlier said that that Monday`s
five rocket attacks, which had killed a Jordanian taxi driver
in Aqaba, had been carried out by the Hamas wing operating
from Egypt, after days of denials.

"Apparently there were those who understood that, and
tried to avoid taking responsibility for these crimes", the
Israeli leader said, scoffing at the Hamas militant group.

"I want to clarify that the use of a third country`s
soil, one that seeks peace, in order to launch rockets at
Israel, will not help Hamas escape culpability. Israel views
the attacks against its citizens with extreme severity, as
well as the attempt to destabilise Israel`s relations with
Egypt and Jordan." Netanyahu said.

He underlined that "whoever shoots at Israeli
citizens, and it doesn`t matter from where, we will find them
and hit them hard."

Separately, an Israeli military officer was killed in
a clash on Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday for which the
Jewish nation has lodged a complaint with the UN to
investigate into the breach of a truce agreement it reached
with its northern neighbour following a 35-day war with
Islamist militant faction Hizbullah in 2006.

Senior Israeli and Lebanese officers met at a base of
the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon on
the border between the two countries, "to address the serious
situation that developed in the last two days with the aim to
prevent any recurrence of such a situation".

Egyptian security officials yesterday claimed that
Hamas had fired seven rockets, including one which misfired
and left debris near a security facility in the town of Taba.

The rockets hit a narrow area of the Red Sea coast
where the Israeli and Jordanian ports are located side by
side. One Jordanian taxi driver was killed and four others
wounded in Aqaba but there were no casualties on the Israeli
side in the attack.

Aqaba and Eilat are more than 300 kilometers from
Hamas` stronghold in the Gaza Strip, however, an unnamed
Egyptian source told state news agency MENA that "preliminary
information indicates that Palestinian factions from the Gaza
Strip are behind that operation."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticised the Egyptian
claim, calling it politically motivated.

"This sounds silly and does not depend on any actual
reasonable evidence," Abu Zuhri said.