Israel will not hesitate to launch a major IDF operation against Gaza-based
terrorist factions if necessary, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Sunday –
after some 100 rockets hit southern Israel in 24 hours.
three people in Sderot during a barrage fired to coincide with the morning
commute to work. One man was moderately wounded in his car by shrapnel and
“Something from the heavens told me not to take my son with
me to school today,” Moshik Levy, a physical education teacher, told Army Radio
on Sunday after he was treated for his injuries.
“Shattered glass from my
car windshield exploded into my face,” Levy said. “I started bleeding. I didn’t
understand what was happening. Thankfully I was alone.”
A couple heading
to work was lightly wounded by shrapnel. A fourth person sustained injuries
while racing for cover at a bomb shelter as the rocket warning siren
Five people required treatment for shock, Magen David Adom
Later in the day, a Palestinian rocket scored a direct
hit on a Sderot factory.
Sderot is too close to the Gaza Strip for the
Iron Dome anti-rocket shield to work effectively over it.
In the evening,
two homes, one in Sderot and another in the Eshkol region, also sustained direct
rocket strikes, causing damages, but no injuries.
At press time, the
rockets and the mortar shells were still coming.
Barak blamed Hamas for
“If we are forced to go back into Gaza in order to deal
Hamas a [serious] blow and restore security for all of Israel’s citizens, then
we will not hesitate to do so,” he warned.
“It is Hamas that will pay the
price; a price that will be painful,” he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu also warned, “We are prepared to intensify our response,” speaking at
Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
“The world needs to understand that Israel will
not sit idly by in the face of attempts to attack us,” the prime minister
“The IDF is operating, and will operate, aggressively against the
terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
The prime minister
held consultations with military and security heads, including Barak and IDF
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. They weighed possible responses, including
some dramatic options, an official told The Jerusalem Post.
The Prime Minister’s Office
would not comment on reports that Egypt was trying to broker a
To garner international support for any necessary Israeli
defensive moves, Netanyahu plans to hold a meeting on Monday with foreign
ambassadors, an official said.
He plans to tell them that what is
happening is intolerable and that no country can live this way, the official
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro wrote on his Facebook page, “Our thoughts
are with the residents of southern Israel, who continue to be bombarded with
missile attacks from terrorist organizations in Gaza.
“The United States
supports Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens from these
President Shimon Peres on Sunday night called on the
international community to stop the flow of money and resources to the Hamas
terrorist organization, Israel Radio reported.
Peres reiterated that
Israel would respond to fire with fire, but said that if Hamas was willing to
observe a cease-fire then so would Israel.
Peres said that Israel
unilaterally vacated Gaza, down to the last soldier, in 2005, and therefore
there was no logic behind Hamas’s attacks.
On Sunday afternoon, Gazan
terrorists fired two long-range rockets at Beersheba, triggering air raid
sirens, and sending residents fleeing for cover.
The Iron Dome system
intercepted one of the rockets.
“The primary fight is along the [Gaza
security] fence, where we’re trying to ensure that Israel can operate as
normal,” Barak told Army Radio.
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called
for Barak to declare a state of emergency in the South, in light of the rocket
She also called on the government to pass a bill she proposed
ensuring residents of the South are paid damages for days they cannot go to work
because of rockets.
Overnight Sunday, two Islamic Jihad members were
killed in a series of air force strikes in Gaza.
The IDF struck seven
targets, including a weapons production site, two weapons storage sites, and two
open areas used to fire rockets in the north of the Strip.
two terrorist targets were struck in southern Gaza.
Palestinians fired 25 rockets at southern Israel, triggering air raid sirens in
Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gan Yavne and smaller communities. At least eight longrange
rockets were included in the barrage, one of which hit north of Ashdod. The Iron
Dome anti-rocket system intercepted at least one rocket headed for the
The violence was renewed when Islamic Jihad terrorists fired an
anti-tank missile at an IDF Jeep carrying out a routine patrol on the Israeli
side of the border on Saturday, striking the vehicle directly and wounding four
One soldier was in serious condition with a head
injury.Lahav Harkov and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.