Israel closes roads near Gaza border following defense minister’s veiled threat to Hamas


(JTA) — Israeli security forces closed off roads near the Gaza Strip in an unusual move that came hours after the country’s defense minister tacitly threatened military action against Hamas.

Ahead of the four road closures Friday, Avigdor Liberman noted Thursday in a Twitter message that the Israel Defense Forces have “exacted a heavy price from rioters on the Gaza border” – a reference to the slaying of several people in disturbances over the past few weeks. “It is now ‘after the holidays’ and my message to Hamas leaders is: Take this into account.”

Israel’s security apparatus considers the Jewish High Holidays period, which usually falls in September-October and ended last week, a time of elevated risk of terrorist attacks. Often this risk leads to closures on West Bank closures of Palestinians territories as well as increased restraint by Israel on the people there in an effort to avoid disturbances that would require holiday enlistments or mobilization.

Incidents along the Gaza border accounted for the majority of the terrorist attacks recorded by the Israel Security Agency since June, according to its  monthly report for September, which showed 124 incidents there out of the 206 cases in total.

A border patrol officer was the only person who was wounded in terrorist attacks last month — Gaza terrorists hurled a grenade across the border fence.

In the West Bank, a civilian, Ari Fuld, was killed in a stabbing attack.

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