Netanyahu Visits Embattled South

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Sderot on Monday, the southern city that was pummeled with rockets from Gaza over the weekend, and told community leaders there that Israel is engaged in a “lengthy battle.”

PM Netanyahu visited a local kindergarten and pledged that Israel would put an end to the rocket fire and a Gaza terror campaign of flying incendiary kites and balloons across the border that have ignited fires damaging Israeli farms and nature reserves.

Hamas will face a “wall of steel” if it keeps up its aggression against Israel, PM Netanyahu warned, adding however that the threat won’t disappear overnight.

“It doesn’t end in one strike,” Netanyahu said. “We know we are engaged in a lengthy battle.”

Hours after Netanyahu spoke, the Israeli military said planes bombarded two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip in response to flaming balloons launched into Israel.

The government is under pressure from local communities to show zero tolerance to this new threat, and PM Netanyahu told local leaders that he had instructed the military to halt it completely.

“There is no such thing as a ceasefire that does not include the flaming kites and balloons,” he said. “If this is not understood through my words, it will be understood through the military’s actions.”

The prime minister’s meeting with the city council was attended by Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Shaar Hanegev Regional Council Chairman Alon Shuster, Sdot Negev Regional Council Chairman Tamir Idan, Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Gadi Yarkoni and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Chairman Yair Ferjon.