PRIME MINISTER Binyamin Netanyahu 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that the IDF will continue to strike terrorists in the Gaza Strip with great power and aggression. His comments came on the fourth day of an escalation that saw some 200 rockets fired from Gaza and 23 Palestinians killed in IDF strikes.
Speaking to a Likud faction meeting, the prime minister said of anyone planning to harm Israeli citizens, "We'll hit them."
The combination of striking terrorists, defense technologies and Israelis' resilience, Netanyahu said, allows the IDF to expand its operations as needed.
Earlier Monday, Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak sent a similar message, warning that if the rocket fire escalates, Israel will continue air strikes against terrorist targets.
Speaking at a ceremony welcoming the arrival of Italy's Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, Barak praised the success of the Iron Dome in intercepting over 40 rockets since the beginning of the violence on Friday and said that it also contributed to boosting Israel's deterrence in light of the threats it faces in the region.
"The IDF will continue to protect Israeli citizens and will strike all those who rise to attack us," Barak said. "Those who attack our civilians will be punished."
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that she, too, supports Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in its Gaza operations.
to Army Radio on Monday, Livni said "There is no opposition in the war with
Hamas," adding that the terrorist group was responsible for the
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also addressed the near-constant rocket fire, saying that Israel's response to the continued rocket fire from Gaza must be "harsh" in order to bring an end to the "unbearable" situation in the South.
Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, Aharonovitch said it was impossible to keep one million citizens in bomb shelters for four days.
The minister reiterated the Israeli government position that, although Hamas operatives may not be firing the rockets themselves, the group is in control of Gaza and therefore responsible for preventing other factions from launching attacks on Israel from the territory.