Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that Israel was still
in a state of alert amid a terror threat emanating from Sinai, despite
the targeted killing Friday of the man believed to be planning the attack, Popular Resistance Committee leader Zuhair Qaisi.
at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that "on
Friday a terror mastermind, responsible for organizing multiple terror
attacks was assassinated. He was in the middle of plotting an additional
act of terror."
The Israel Air Force Friday bombed a car in Gaza
killing Qaisi and another top terrorist in the organization. The IDF
said it decided to bomb Qaisi’s car due to intelligence that he was
plotting a large terrorist attack along the border with Egypt, similar
to the one the PRC carried out last August that killed eight Israelis.
prime minister said Sunday that "we are still on alert for a terror
attack from there, and I have ordered the closure of the road along the
Egyptian border." The IDF decided on Friday to close Route 12 – which
runs along the border with Egypt – due to fears that the planned attack
might still take place.
Netanyahu said that the IDF's operation to kill Qaisi had brought about an escalation of hostilities in the South in which the IDF was "striking with great force" and "exacting a high price" from terrorist organizations in Gaza.
The prime minister praised the effectiveness of the Iron Dome rocket-defense system, saying it had proven itself and he would work to deploy it more widely in the coming months.
'Iron Dome must be recognized as national emergency project'
Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday echoed Netanyahu's sentiments,
calling for Iron Dome to be recognized as a national emergency
Barak said that classifying the system as such would allow him to request the acceleration of plans to operate and deploy
additional Iron Dome batteries and complete the development and
deployment of the Magic Wand, an additional system which would provide
an added layer of defense against projectiles.
"We must ensure
that the system will be deployed in the shortest time period possible in
order to provide all of the state's citizens worthy protection against
the threat of rockets and missiles, in the North as well as in the
South," Barak stated.
Barak added: "The great success of the Iron
Dome in intercepting rockets fired at Israeli cities in the last two
days contributes to the security of Israel's citizens and to the freedom
of the leadership to act to create deterrence."
Liberman: Hamas to blame for Gaza rocket fire
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday placed the blame
for continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on
Hamas, warning that Israel would respond to attacks leveled against its
Speaking to Army Radio, Liberman said of the more than
100 rockets fired into Israel since Friday, "There is no doubt that as
far as we are concerned Hamas is the responsible party."
suggest that the leaders of terror organizations give the proper
consideration to their actions and understand that despite our desire
for restraint, we will respond," Liberman warned.
officials said Sunday that 17 people had been killed in Israeli strikes
on Gaza since hostilities began on Friday. They claimed that one of
those killed was a 12-year-old civilian, while the remaining 16 were
A Palestinian official speaking on condition of
anonymity said Egypt had begun mediating a ceasefire on Sunday. The
Egyptian Foreign Ministry had no comment.
Vice Prime Minister
Moshe Yaalon responded Sunday: "In the latest rounds of violence the
Egyptians have naturally served as mediators. We are not negotiating
with Hamas ... but deliver a clear message, if you don't shoot, we don't
shoot, if you do shoot, you will pay a price."
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Reuters contributed to this report.