Netanyahu: Terror attacks violate Israel’s sovereignty, we will respond accordingly

Defense Minister Barak stresses Israel will act against terror attacks with full force, says attacks show weakening Egyptian grip on Sinai Peninsula.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Thursday’s terror attacks in southern Israel by stating that the attacks „are extremely serious, and violate Israel’s sovereignty.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) stated that the attacks require an Israeli response, and that Kadima will support the government’s actions.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that the source of combined terrorist attacks that took place earlier in the day was the Gaza Strip.

„This is a serious terror attack that took place in several locations,” Barak said during a situation assessment following the terrorist attacks. „The incident shows the weakening Egyptian grip on Sinai and the widening operation of terrorists there. The source of these terror acts is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz arrived at the Division Headquarters earlier on Thursday and conducted an initial situation assessment. Shortly afterward, Barak and the Police Chief Yohanan Danino left for the scene of the attacks.

Since Friday, Egyptian military and police forces have been deployed in the Sinai Peninsula in an attempt to restore central government control and track down those behind attacks on police stations and on a pipeline transporting gas to Israel.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s South Sinai governor Khaled Fouda denied on Thursday reports that gunmen had opened fire on Israeli vehicles from Sinai in which several people were killed, state television said.

„The South Sinai governor denied there was any gunfire from Taba towards Eilat port,” state television reported, referring to the Egyptian Red Sea resort across the border from the Israeli port city of Eilat.

In response to Barak, Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil stated Thursday that his party and the Palestinian people are not afraid of “Zionist threats” and will not “stand idly by if the enemy attacks”.

Al-Bardawil further stated that Hamas relies on a strategy of resisting „the occupation of Palestinian lands from within, rather than from outside”.