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Israeli PM threatens Hamas with severe punishment

The Prime Minister of Israel on Sunday threatened the Gaza Strip’s Hamas government with severe punishment if it does not halt the weekly mass protests near the boundary fence separating Gaza from Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu said he held Hamas, which is both a resistance group and an Islamist political party ruling the Gaza Strip, responsible for the nearly seven months of protests that have been characterized by Israel’s use of deadly force against unarmed protesters, killing over 160 people, reports Efe news.

“Hamas, apparently, has not internalized the message. If they do not stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful – very painful,” Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting.

“We are very close to a different kind of activity, an activity that will include very powerful blows,” the prime minster said. “If it has sense, Hamas will stop firing and stop these violent disturbances – now.”

On Saturday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman stopped fuel trucks from entering the Gaza Strip via Israel, tightening the decade-long siege that has left the Gazan economy in “free fall”, according to a September report by the World Bank.

The head of Hamas’ political wing, Ismail Haniyeh, vowed on Saturday that the Great March of Return protests would continue, a day after he was reportedly injured by tear gas during demonstrations near the boundary fence, according to Palestinian media.

On Friday, seven Palestinian demonstrators were shot dead by the Israeli Army while 154 others suffered gunshot wounds, including 50 minors and 10 women.

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