Gantz tours Sderot factory hit by Kassam rocket 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman's Office)
Fire will be met by fire and quiet by quiet, a top IDF officer said Saturday night after a day of continued violence in southern Israel.
On Saturday, 23 rockets were fired into Israel, amounting to nearly 150 since the beginning of hostilities on Monday. A number of rockets targeted Sderot, injuring a factory worker. One projectile also smashed into an empty school, causing extensive damage.
The Israel Air Force retaliated with a number of airstrikes late Friday night after terrorist groups in Gaza – although not Hamas – fired rockets into Israel despite reports that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire had gone into effect in the morning. IDF sources said that most of the rocket fire over the weekend was carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees and other small terror factions.
In response to the rocket attacks on Friday, early Saturday morning the IAF bombed three Hamas bases in the Gaza Strip, wounding around 20 people. In response, Hamas fired rockets and mortar shells mostly into Sderot. The factory worker was injured in one of the attacks while seeking cover. He sustained moderate shrapnel wounds to his neck and stomach and was rushed to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
A factory manager said that the site had been hit twice before, but that on this occasion, expensive equipment worth millions sustained a direct hit. Two other civilians were treated for shock in the attack.
Also Saturday, the IAF carried out to airstrike against Palestinians spotted preparing to launch rockets into Israel. Two Palestinians were killed, raising the death tally to 14.
“We will continue operating to prevent the rocket fire but in general, quiet will be met by quiet and fire by fire,” a senior IDF officer said Saturday night.
The officer said that Israel had received signals from the Egyptians that Hamas was interested in ending the current round of violence. He attributed Hamas’s interest in stopping the fighting to the IDF’s aggressive response Friday night and Saturday to the rocket fire which included bombings of several of the group’s military bases.
“Hamas was surprised by the bombing of one of its bases since until now the IDF has limited its attacks to smaller outposts,” the officer said. “This made Hamas understand that it is in its interest to obtain quiet.”
The officer said that while Hamas was not behind most of the rocket fire over the weekend, Israel expected it to rein in the other terror factions in Gaza and to stop their rocket attacks.
“If the attacks continue though the IDF will not hesitate to act against the terrorist launching the rockets,” the officer said.