As darkness fell on Wednesday, the number of rockets launched at Israel by Gaza terrorists reached over 400 in two days of fighting, with more to come, according to media reports.
B’chasdei shamayim, no deaths have been reported on the Israeli side, though dozens have been lightly injured and required treatment for shock.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, 24 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes. At least half of that number were members of terrorist groups, the IDF said.
Residents in the Gaza periphery were advised by the authorities to stay in bomb shelters, as more attacks were expected Wednesday evening.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held consultations in the late afternoon at IDF Southern Command headquarters, with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, ISA Director Nadav Argaman, NSC Director Meir Ben-Shabbat and senior defense establishment officials.
In a statement issued by his office, Netanyahu said that they had “agreed on the future steps,” without giving any details.
“There is a great achievement here for the State of Israel, which has further strengthened its deterrence. The arch-terrorists know that we can put them in the crosshairs and we will put in the crosshairs anyone who tries to attack us.
“Moreover, we are not bent on escalation but we will carry out all the necessary actions that we have agreed on in order to continue defending the State of Israel and its citizens,” the prime minister said.
“I would like to commend you, the Chief-of-Staff, GOC Southern Command, the ISA and IDF Intelligence. The commanders and soldiers are doing fantastic work.”
From Gaza came a joint statement of the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, and three other armed groups taking credit for firing dozens of rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon.
Netanyahu spoke earlier by telephone with council heads from the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and told them:
“We are changing the equation. I told you that we would choose the right time. The right time was the day before yesterday, as the ISA Director said ‘The stars aligned’….We decided to strengthen our deterrence with new means that they have not even imagined. We carried out an action with surgical precision. Instigators of terrorism and commanders know that we can reach them personally. They fire from within civilian populations and hide behind civilians. We broke this equation by targeting him while he was hiding. I very much appreciate your steadfastness and support, and that of your residents.”
The council heads said that they stood by, and commended, the Prime Minister on the action. They said that in recent years there has been growth in the cities and a significant increase in population by dozens of percentage points. They also noted that the residents are strong and give their continued backing, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.