Benjamin Netanyahu warns of 'lethal' reaction to any Gaza escalation

Israeli tanks struck two Hamas positions in Gaza after a soldier was lightly injured

epa07311781 Israeli Prime and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a combat simulation against Hezbollah at a model of a Lebanese village during a large-scale military exercise at the Shizafon military base in southern Israel, 23 January 2019. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas 'not to examine Israel's military power'. In addition, media reports that Netanyahu also stopped the 15 million US dollar Qatari fund transfer to Hamas in Gaza Strip, a donation by Qatar to pay the salaries of Gaza's civil servants.  EPA/ABIR SULTAN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Wednesday of a "lethal" reaction if Palestinian armed groups resume hostilities as tensions rise over Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu made the remarks after weeks of relative calm in the Gaza Strip ended on Tuesday when Israeli soldiers came under fire along the border in two separate incidents.

"Maybe there is someone in Gaza who thinks he can stick his head up; I suggest that they understand that the response will be lethal and very painful," Mr Netanyahu said.

"We are ready for any scenario and escalation," he said, quoted by his office, after attending a military exercise at a base in Shizafon in southern Israel.

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On Tuesday, Israeli tanks struck two Hamas positions in Gaza and killed a fighter after an Israeli soldier was lightly injured when a bullet hit his helmet.

And overnight Israeli warplanes struck a camp of Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Palestinian enclave.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth round remain although violence has abated since November as a result of an informal truce.

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