Netanyahu Accuses World of Apathy as Gaza Rockets Hit South

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. (Amit Shabi/POOL)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. (Amit Shabi/POOL)
Kerem Shalom crossing seen closed from the Gazan side on Sunday, after Israel closed it and the Erez crossing following rocket fire from Palestinian terrorists. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)
Kerem Shalom crossing seen closed from the Gazan side on Sunday, after Israel closed it and the Erez crossing following rocket fire from Palestinian terrorists. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)
A recently deployed Iron Dome battery seen near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
A recently deployed Iron Dome battery seen near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Israeli aircraft struck the Gaza Strip on Sunday after the latest in a series of Palestinian rocket attacks that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the international community of ignoring.

The Omar Brigades, a Palestinian group that supports Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the latest salvo, which, like the Israeli strike, caused no casualties.

The rocket, which triggered warning sirens in the city of Ashkelon, about 6 miles north of Gaza, exploded in an open area. Israeli aircraft later struck a Hamas training facility.

Israel closed its border crossings with the Hamas-controlled enclave and Netanyahu hinted at a stronger Israeli military response if the cross-border attacks persist.

It was the third such rocket strike by Jihadi Salafis, radical rivals of Hamas, who are demanding the ruling Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip release imprisoned Islamic State sympathizers and that Israel frees Palestinian inmates.

Political analysts in Gaza said the Salafis hoped the prospect of the collapse of Hamas’s ceasefire with Israel would pressure the group to free the men.

Netanyahu seized on the strikes to launch his own attack against international criticism of his government’s policies toward the Palestinians and its opposition to a likely nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

“I did not hear anybody in the international community condemn this firing at us from Gaza, neither has the United Nations said a word,” he told his cabinet in public remarks.

Later on Sunday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a G7 summit in Germany that “clearly the U.S. stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks.”

Hinting at a stronger Israeli military response to any further cross-border attacks, Netanyahu said: “It will be interesting to see if this silence continues when we use our full strength to uphold our right to defend ourselves.”

Netanyahu said: “The spreading hypocrisy in the world will not tie our hands in protecting Israeli citizens.”

In response to the recent rocket fire, the IDF has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor in Rehovot, about 18 miles south of Tel Aviv.

Over the weekend, the army moved Iron Dome batteries to the Ashdod and Netivot areas.