Israel ramps up armoured forces on Gaza border

Israel ramps up armoured forces on Gaza border
2 min read
18 October, 2018
Israeli has reportedly deployed the largest number of armoured forces on the Gaza border since the 2014 war.
An Israeli Merkava Mark IV tank takes position along the Israel-Gaza border [File photo: Getty]
Israel has reportedly deployed the biggest number of armoured forces on the Gaza border since the 2014 war.

Around 60 tanks and armoured personnel carriers were seen at a deployment area near the border, according to a Reuters photographer, who said the show of force was clearly visible from Israeli roads near the border with the strip.

The ramped up military presence comes a day after Israel launched air strikes across Gaza, killing one Palestinian, after a rocket was fired from the besieged enclave at an Israeli city. 

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who convened his security cabinet on Wednesday after the rocket hit a home in the city of Beersheba, pledged to take "very strong action" against Palestinians.

Israel's defence minister warned on Tuesday that Gaza border protests could not be allowed to go on.

"The situation as it is today cannot continue," Avigdor Lieberman told troops and commanders at Reim army base, near southern Israel's border with Hamas-ruled Gaza. "We are not prepared to accept the level of violence we see week after week".

"We must strike Hamas a hard blow, this is the only way to bring the situation back to what is was before and to reduce the level of violence," Lieberman said in Hebrew, adding it must be a collective decision of the 12-member security cabinet.

Palestinians have staged regular protests along the Gaza separation fence since 30 March, demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were expelled from during the creation of Israel in 1948. 

They are also calling for an end to the decade-long Israeli blockade that the UN says will make Gaza "unlivable" by 2020.

At least 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the March protests began.

Over the same period, one Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.