Netanyahu: Expect ‘Powerful Response’ to Gaza Rocket Barrage

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Gaza, Tuesday. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised a “powerful response to the attacks against us,” as he commented on the barrage of rockets fired at Gaza border area communities Tuesday morning. “Israel will exact a heavy price against all those who harm us. We see Hamas as responsible for events in Gaza, including the firing of rockets this morning,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the Galilee Conference Tuesday.

Following the speech, Gaza sources said that the IDF planes had hit several Hamas outposts in Gaza. The targets were in central Gaza, as opposed to the areas closer to the Gaza border fence, where IDF attacks were usually concentrated.

In a separate comment on social media, Netanyahu said that the rocket fire Tuesday morning made clear Hamas’s intentions. While the terror group has claimed that the riots it has been sponsoring at the Gaza border fence have been “spontaneous gatherings” and “quiet protests of civilians,” Netanyahu said that it was clear what Hamas was really doing. “This morning we sustained a barrage of 57 missiles, including one aimed at a kindergarten,” Netanyahu said. IDF sources placed the number at 27, indicating that Netanyahu made a “typo” in the post.

Slight damage was caused when a missile hit the yard of a kindergarten. Rescue workers said that one Israeli was injured in Tuesday’s attacks, with a man lightly hurt by shattering glass when a rocket fell in the area.

Security sources said Tuesday that the barrage of rockets fired at Israel throughout the morning was the work of Islamic Jihad, which had gotten permission from Hamas to attack Israel. The terror group has been in recent days threatening to “avenge” the deaths of three of its terrorists, after a weekend attack by IDF forces, in response to the dispatching of a drone loaded with explosives.

After the attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called a meeting of the Security Cabinet to discuss Israel’s response.

Reports from Gaza said that senior Hamas terrorists were going underground, hiding from what they expect to be a major Israeli response. In recent weeks, senior security officials in Israel have advocated returning to a former policy of targeting Hamas’s leadership in order to prevent further attacks.