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Israel threatens forceful response to mortar attack from Gaza
Last Updated: 2018-05-30 07:12 | Xinhua
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday threatened to respond with "great force" to a mortar attack from Gaza earlier in the day.

The militants in Gaza fired a barrage of 28 mortar shells at southern Israel early in the morning, lightly injuring a gardener working outdoors in a community in the Eshkol Regional Council near Gaza.

"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will respond with great force to these attacks, and Israel will exact a heavy price from anyone who tries to harm it," Netanyahu said during a conference in the Galilee region.

No organization has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but local media cited a security official as saying the mortars were likely launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based Islamist group, which lost three fighters on Sunday when Israel attacked a military observation position in the coastal enclave.

However, Netanyahu said Israel will hold Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian organization that runs Gaza, "responsible for preventing these attacks."

An Israeli military spokesperson said most of the mortars were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-rocket system.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman convened a special meeting with the heads of Israel's security forces "to asses the situation," according to an official statement.

The EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret condemned the attack.

"I know the resilience of communities in southern Israel but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly," he said on his Twitter account.

The incident came amid a rising tension between Israelis and Palestinians, as at least 110 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 30, the first day of the ongoing Palestinian anti-Israel "Great March of Return" mass rally.

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