Kassam rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip 311 (R).
(photo credit: Nikola Solic / Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday vowed that Israel would strike any groups trying to attack Israeli citizens, and said that Israel would acquire further Iron Dome systems to shoot down incoming rockets.
"We will further improve homeland security by equipping ourselves with additional Iron Dome systems, the efficiency of which was once again demonstrated this week," Netanyahu told municipal leaders in the South, where over 100 rockets from Gaza have fallen since Friday evening.
"We will continue to strike anyone who intends to attack the citizens of the state of Israel," he continued. Since Friday, Magen David Adom treated 15 people for rocket-related injuries, including one in serious condition. The local leaders noted the impressive success of the Iron Dome system, which intercepted over 90 percent of the rockets
it targeted. Clinton condemns rocket attacks
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the rockets during a with opposition leader Tzipi Livni in New York, and asserted Israel's right to defend itself.
Livni thanked Clinton, saying "the international community must speaking out clearly, in one voice, against terror against the citizens of Israel's South."
Earlier Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that military operations in Gaza in response to the rockets are far from over.
"This round in the Strip is still far from completion," Barak said, adding that the operations would probably continue for another day or two. Barak praised the IDF for what he called precise, complicated strikes against Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) infrastructure.
IDF aircraft killed a PRC member
Saturday in a joint operation with the general defense services, according to the IDF Spokesman Unit. They also attacked two terror activity centers in the North and South of the Gaza strip. 14 Palestinians - 10 of them members of Islamic Jihad - were killed in the strikes and another 20 were injured, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
Senior IDF officials that met regarding the ongoing escalation in southern Israel said on Saturday that the IDF will respond forcefully to any rocket attack against Israeli civilians. The officials also noted the successes of the Iron Dome system.
Palestinians began firing rockets into Israel after an IAF strike on Friday
killed the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi.Vilnai: Hamas trying to avoid escalation in Gaza
Also commenting on the escalation, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that Hamas is trying to avoid an escalation in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas is doing all in its power to avoid a Cast Lead 2, and is trying to rein in its extremist elements."
Speaking in Beersheba, Vilnai added that the situation in the South will become clearer in the near future. "We will know in which direction this escalation is headed by the evening," he said. "At this point it is up to the other side."
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said that Qaisi should have been assassinated a long time ago. "Yesterday Israel's long arm reached him, and that is a good thing," he said.
"Anyone involved in terrorism should expect a similar fate. It is Israel's responsibility to protect its southern citizens. We must not allow ourselves to grow complacent with a situation in which a million citizens are held hostage in shelters."Ayalon: No terrorist is immune
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu) said that no terrorist is immune to Israeli strikes in Gaza. "All terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip, including those of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committees, are potential targets," he said.
Ayalon added that "Israel's southern residents will not stay at the mercy of Hamas - the government of Israel will not accept this situation. Terrorist infrastructure will be destroyed and terrorist leaders will be hit."
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that "we should view a rocket that falls in Sderot the same as a rocket that falls on the Kirya in Tel Aviv, and we should respond in kind."
Danon commended the strike on Qaisi, saying that it should be an "example to any and all who take part in terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip- Israel will get you too."
Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich called on citizens to "continue acting according to instructions issued by the IDF Southern Command."
He added that "even though the Iron Dome is doing good and important work, it does not have a 100% success rate. Citizens should continue to take shelter in protected areas."