(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel will not tolerate any attempts to harm its civilians or allow the return of a reality where rockets trickle into the state, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Thursday, after Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into the South on Wednesday.
The Israel Air Force struck Hamas targets in the Strip Wednesday night. There were no injuries in the rocket attacks or air strikes.
Rocket-warning sirens went off in the Ashkelon and Netivot regions after the two rockets crossed into Israel and exploded in open areas after 11 p.m., security forces said. The two projectiles landed in open fields in Sdot Negev not far from the western Negev town of Netivot.
Video showing damage by missle launched from Gaza
A radical Islamist Salafist group – the Omar Brigades – claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter.
“Even if the shooters last night were jihadist groups rebelling against Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as being responsible for everything that occurs in the territory of Gaza,” Ya’alon said Thursday.
The IDF said “strikes were confirmed” in its predawn attack that left infrastructure damaged but no casualties.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) called for a full-power attack on Hamas.
“I see Hamas as fully responsible for any events in the Gaza Strip, and when it comes to protecting the security of our citizens, there is no Israeli leader who will be deterred from using all of the force necessary,” Herzog stated.
MK Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) called the prime minister’s policy one of “restraint and containment and unwillingness to destroy the terrorist reign of Hamas, leading residents of the South and then all of Israel to become hostages of terrorists in Gaza once again. Israel must respond resolutely and not verbally or by bombing empty sand.”
MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), a pilot who took part in Operation Protective Edge, said a drizzle of rockets cannot be accepted.
“We will not tolerate any shooting by Hamas terrorists and other extremist organizations,” he stated. “The IDF is more prepared than ever for another military round, and I suggest that no one test our capabilities. The State of Israel will respond harshly to any attempt to disrupt the quiet and harm its citizens.”
At a ceremony in Tel Aviv on the anniversary of the 1948 Altalena Affair, President Reuven Rivlin said: “Alongside this, we all saw how terrorism from Gaza continues to strike and threaten the lives of our citizens. We won’t let anyone in Gaza hide behind the claim that there is no sovereign.”
Last week, a 15-year-old girl was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashdod suffering from shock after a rocket exploded in the Gan Yavne region, east of Ashdod, shattering four weeks of quiet and setting of rocket- warning sirens in the Ashdod and Lachish regions.
Last week’s rocket, the first mid-range attack since the cease-fire went into effect on August 26 following the 50-day war with Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge, was launched by Islamic Jihad.
Hamas security forces later arrested Islamic Jihad members suspected of firing the rockets.
Hours after that attack, the IAF responded by striking Islamic Jihad and Hamas targets.
On April 24, terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket at the Sderot area, ending four months of quiet and triggering rocket- warning sirens in the area. The projectile exploded in an open, uninhabited area.