PM vows to ‘hit’ anyone attacking Israel

By
March 11, 2012 02:03

Clinton condemns rockets fired at Israel; IDF aircraft launch operations in Gaza killing a PRC member, hitting terror centers; Barak says Sinai attack still possible; 14 Palestinians killed in retaliatory strikes.

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IDF soldiers near Ashkelon search for rockets

IDF soldiers near Ashkelon search for rockets_370. (photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Even as scores of missiles fell in the South over the weekend in response to Israel’s killing of Zuhair Qaisi, head of Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday that Israel would “continue to hit anyone trying to attack Israeli citizens.”

Netanyahu’s comments came during conversations over the weekend with the heads of the nine municipal and regional councils in the South coming under heavy rocket fire. At the same time, he told them, Israel would strengthen protection of the home front through the deployment of more Iron Dome batteries, which he said proved their efficiency in the last couple days.

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Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched over 100 rockets, with some 67 exploding in Israeli territory. The Iron Dome intercepted 90 percent of those it targeted.

The regional and municipal heads said the Iron Dome batteries were giving them a greater sense of security.

Netanyahu did not convene a special meeting of the security cabinet, and is expected to update his ministers on what happened over the weekend at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.

Over the weekend he received constant updates from his military secretary, Maj.-Gen. Yohanan Locker.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said at a cultural event Saturday that Israel viewed gravely Hamas’s attempts to drag Israel into a war of attrition in the South.

“The residents of the South will not be at the mercy of Hamas, and the Israeli government will not accept that situation, and will eliminate the terror infrastructure and hit the terrorist leaders,” he said.

Ayalon said the leaders of all the terrorist groups in Gaza – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the popular committees – were “dead men walking,” and that “no one had immunity.”

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Ayalon said that as a result of the weakening security situation in Sinai, arms from Libya were being smuggled into Gaza, upgrading Hamas’s capabilities there.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, a member of the security cabinet, said that the IDF action that precipitated the barrage of rockets was done to protect Israeli citizens.

“Anyone who works to carry out attacks or fire rockets against Israel is a target,” he said. “Israel will continue to act to protect its citizens.”

Government officials said that even though Hamas did not fire off the barrage of rockets, Israel held it responsible.

“We have no illusions about those who control Gaza, and won’t allow Hamas to sub-contract out attacks on Israel,” one official said. “It just won’t be tolerated.”


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