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Israel warns settlers to stay close to bomb shelters as Hamas vows revenge for Gaza carnage

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C)

The Israeli regime has evacuated hundreds from border towns and warned settlers to stay close to bomb shelters as the Hamas resistance movement vowed to revenge for Israeli carnage in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Israel launched surprise airstrikes on several areas across Gaza, leaving 13 people killed, including three high-profile commanders of al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, as well as their wives and children. Twenty people were also injured in the attacks.

Gaza-based Hamas was quick to strongly condemn the deadly raid as a "great and heinous crime." It also vowed, "a proportionate response whose details will be determined by the joint operations room of all factions."

Fearing retaliatory rocket attacks from Gaza-based resistance groups, most notably Hamas, the Israel regime on Tuesday ordered the closure of schools, beaches and highways in cities and towns in southern Israel, and limited public gatherings.

More than 2,000 settlers fled their homes in the Gaza border settlements for fear of rocket fire in response to the airstrikes, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, adding that municipalities were preparing to evacuate thousands more.

Israel's minister for military affairs Yoav Gallant also told leaders of local councils near the Gaza border that they "must be prepared for any scenario, including prolonged fighting" and an "expansion of the firing range" of rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

The Islamic Jihad, for its part, strongly condemned the carnage, vowing revenge.  

The Israeli airstrikes “will not pass unpunished," stressed Tareq Selmi, a spokesman for the resistance group. “The bombardment will be met by bombardment and the attack will be met by an attack,” he vowed.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The regime has also launched several military offensives on the besieged territory since 2008, making the situation even worse.

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