Israel threatens harsh response to any attacks

JERUSALEM Wed Aug 4, 2010 1:20pm EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel holds Lebanon and Hamas responsible for separate attacks on its territory this week and will continue to respond forcefully to violence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

"I want to make clear to Hamas and the Lebanese government, that we see them responsible for the violent provocation against our soldiers," Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

"Our policy is clear, Israel responds and will continue to respond with force, to any attack against its citizens and soldiers," he added.

Four people, including a senior Israeli officer, died in a rare firefight on the Israeli-Lebanese border on Tuesday.

On Monday, a suspected short-range rocket salvo from the Egyptian Sinai, struck Israel's and Jordan's Red Sea ports, killing a man in Jordan. Netanyahu said the attack had been carried out by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

"I want to make clear that the use of a territory belonging to a third, peace-seeking state in order to fire rockets at Israel will not help Hamas to evade responsibility," he said.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has denied any involvement in Monday's rocket strike.

(Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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