Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, vowed Friday to crush Hamas with relentless bombardment as the death toll in Gaza rose to more than 120, including 31 children and 20 women, and 900 people were wounded.
The fiery comments by the head of government came amid growing fears of a Lebanese incursion into Israel, with residents in the northern region of the country urged to stay in their homes, and as many Palestinians fled their homes in Gaza after more than 1,000 bombs were dropped Thursday night and continued into Friday.
They have been attacking our capital and firing rockets at our cities. They are paying and will continue to pay dearly for it,” Netanyahu said during a video address Friday. It is not over yet,” he warned.
I have said that we will exact a very heavy price from Hamas and other terror groups, and we are doing so and will continue to do so with great force,” the prime minister said before detailing Israel’s destruction of Hamas tunnels.
Hamas had thought it could hide there, but it can’t,” he said. Hamas leaders think they can escape our grasp. They can’t escape. We can reach them anywhere – all of [Hamas], and we will continue to do that.’
In northern Israel, several pro-Palestinian demonstrators approached the border from Lebanon Friday afternoon, and a second time later Friday evening, the Jerusalem Post reported.
A number of the 20 or so demonstrators, carrying Palestinian, Lebanese, and Hezbollah flags, reportedly cut a hole in the border fence and entered Israel, with one of the demonstrators reportedly shot in the leg by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, who also fired two shells from a tank toward the demonstration.
However, the injured man, identified as a 21-year-old fighter from the Lebanese Hezbollah group named Muhammed Tahan, later succumbed to his injuries after being dragged back across the border into Lebanon.
Residents of Metulla in Israel’s northern district were ordered to stay indoors, but the order was lifted after a short time when officials were assured that the situation was under control.
In the meantime, the Israeli military says it has identified three rockets fired from Syria into Israeli territory on Friday.
The military said in a statement that one of the rockets landed inside Syria in the evening hours. There was no immediate comment from Damascus.
The death toll in the Gaza Strip rose to 122, including 31 children and 20 women, and 900 wounded, according to the Health Ministry.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 dead in their ranks, although Israel says the figure is much higher. Seven people were killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.
Thousands of Palestinians packed up their children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel bombarded northern Gaza with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their home and severely damaging other neighborhoods.
As international efforts for a cease-fire increased, Israel appeared to want to inflict increased damage on Hamas, which controls Gaza and has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
Violence in Gaza increasingly spilled over into unrest in other areas.
Across the West Bank, Palestinians held their largest protests since 2017, with hundreds burning tires and throwing stones at Israeli troops in at least nine towns. Soldiers who opened fire killed six, according to Palestinian health officials, while a seventh Palestinian was killed when he tried to stab an Israeli soldier.
Inside Israel, communal violence erupted on the fourth night. Jewish and Arab mobs clashed in the town of Lod, even after additional security forces were deployed.
Israeli police said nine people were injured in violent riots related to the arrest of a senior Islamist leader in northern Israel, a higher number than earlier media reports.