Israel’s government was considering on Saturday night the possibility of
escalating its military response to the continued rocket fire from
At least one man was killed and dozens of others were wounded by
the more than 80 rockets that pounded southern Israel over the
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Defense officials said Israel was not interested in a large-scale
operation inside the Strip, but it would respond strongly to the continued
rocket attacks – particularly in light of the growing number of casualties in
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.
Benny Gantz held security consultations throughout Saturday to draw up potential
responses and courses of action.
“We will continue the current operation
for as long as needed,” Gantz said on Saturday during a visit to one of the Iron
Dome batteries in the South. “I hope those responsible understand Israeli lives
are not worthless.”
The IDF’s options vary, and could include an
expansion in airstrikes, similar to the first week of Operation Cast Lead, which
started in December 2008 with the bombing of hundreds of targets throughout the
The government will also consider a possible ground offensive
inside Gaza, including small and isolated operations.
could include the use of targeted assassinations against leaders of terrorist
organizations based in Gaza.
On Friday and Saturday, the Israel Air Force
bombed a number of targets throughout Gaza, killing at least 15
Palestinian medical sources said three children – aged two,
five and 13 – were also killed in the strikes, which were targeted against arms
depots, weapon-production plants and rocket squads.
“We have a policy of
exacting a very heavy price on anyone who attacks us, and this policy is being
implemented,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Friday.
night, the IAF deployed a second battery of the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense
system in the South, outside Beersheba. Another battery has been deployed near
By Saturday night, soldiers from the IAF’s Air Defense Division
had intercepted several rockets fired at Beersheba and Ashkelon with the Iron
The IAF was, however, reviewing the use of the Iron Dome
after some rockets landed inside Beersheba, killing a man and injuring several
others. Several other rockets were intercepted by the system during the same
In one attack on Saturday afternoon, the IAF bombed 15
different targets throughout Gaza, including terror bases and tunnels used to
smuggle weapons from the Sinai Peninsula into the Gaza Strip.
afternoon, the IAF hit a terror cell in northern Gaza just moments after its
members fired mortars into Israel.
In another strike, the IAF bombed a
motorbike being driven by Samed Abdul Abed, identified as a senior commander in
the Popular Resistance Committees, the organization behind Thursday’s terror
attacks near Eilat.